Northern Ireland news

New Lodge crime spree just hours after rally

Burnt out cars in the Carlisle Terrace area of New Lodge. Picture by Mark Marlow.

A CRIME spree in the New Lodge area of north Belfast, just hours after residents and politicians held a 'Not In Our Name' rally, has been branded "mindless vandalism".

Three cars were set on fire and a house broken into in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The previous evening hundreds of people attended a rally in the area to protest at violence and criminality linked to an anti-social bonfire that was set alight last Thursday.

An 18-year-old man is in a critical condition after being stabbed when fighting broke out close to the controversial pyre at Victoria Parade.

The PSNI say they were called to a number of incidents New Lodge area in the early hours of yesterday, the first just after 3.30am when a man forced entry into a house at Carlisle Square.

The elderly resident of the property disturbed the the intruder who made off through a back door.

The suspect is reported to have been aged in his 20s, of thin build and wearing a baseball cap and dark coat with orange coloured lining.

Around an hour later police received a report that a Peugeot 206 car had been set alight at Victoria Parade.

Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene but the car was completely destroyed in the arson attack.

A short time later an Audi Q2 and Volkswagen Tiguan were discovered burning at nearby Carlisle Terrace.

A man fitting a similar description to the suspect in the earlier house break in was reported to have been in the vicinity at the time of the arson attacks.

Inspector Paul Noble said: "Our investigation into these incidents is at a very early stage and I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could assist us with our enquiries to contact police at Musgrave on 101 quoting reference number 181 of August 13".

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee described the incidents as "mindless vandalism".

"The residents have made it clear that they are opposed to these actions," he said.

"Those responsible for this criminality need to wise up, they are doing nothing but damaging relations in the area and the good reputation of this community.

"Anyone carrying out these attacks on our communities need to be apprehended and charged," he added.

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