Northern Ireland news

Three men in custody following separate fires in Belfast and Carrickfergus

Alliance assembly member Stewart Dickson has described an attack on his Carrickfergus constituency office as `an act of wanton vandalism'
Marie Louise McConville

A 27-YEAR-OLD man was in police custody last night following a fire in north Belfast which caused serious damage to a number of businesses.

The blaze, which broke out on the Woodvale Road, between Cambria Street and Glenvale Street, early yesterday caused damage to a kebab shop, cafe and barbers.

Police erected a cordon around the area for a time as the Fire Service brought the blaze under control.

At one point, the PSNI issued a warning to drivers that due to smoke, visibility in the area was "very limited".

DUP assembly member William Humphrey described the fire as "devastating".

The MLA said following the fire, it was a "very sad scene on the Woodvale Road".

Mr Humphrey said three shops had been "directly damaged by the fire and others will have suffered secondary effects".

"Whilst the cause of this fire is unknown at this stage, we hope that it will be possible for the Fire Service to determine this in due course," he said.

Meanwhile, two men aged 24 and 27 were last night in custody following an arson attack on an Alliance Party office in Co Antrim.

The offices of MLA Stewart Dickson, at West Street in Carrickfergus, were targeted at around 11.30pm on Wednesday.

Police said a bin was set on fire and placed against the front door of the property.

Two men were later arrested on suspicion of arson.

Mr Dickson's office was previouslyt destroyed in an arson attack on the property in 2012 at the height of the loyalist flags dispute.

The MLA described the attack as "an act of wanton vandalism".

"While some damage has been caused, we are open as normal to continue providing a service to the people of East Antrim," he said.

"Actions such as this serve no purpose whatsoever, but waste the time of our already stretched emergency services".

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