Northern Ireland news

Teen girls rescued from Dunmurry barn targeted in arson

One of the barns at Mount Eagles Avenue in Dunmurry that has been the scene of antisocial activity

FOUR teenage girls escaped serious injury after becoming trapped in a barn set alight by a group of youths.

Police said it was a "terrifying ordeal" for the 13-year-old girls and the "consequences could have been devastating".

It happened on Monday shortly after 8.15pm at Mount Eagles Avenue, Dunmurry in west Belfast.

The girls had gained access to a disused barn in the area.

When inside, a group of male youths set blocks of polystyrene on fire and threw them into the barn.

Wood and stones were also thrown into the premises, which trapped the girls inside.

One of the girls managed to contact the fire service, which attended and rescued them from the barn.

There were no reports of any serious injuries. Minor damage was caused to the barn.

One of the boys involved was described as having blond hair shaved at the sides and wearing a black top and navy bottoms.

Another wore a green-and-white top, while a third wore a grey tracksuit with the hood covering his face.

Detective Sergeant Hollie McCartan said: "It is extremely fortunate that we are not dealing with more tragic circumstances following this incident.

"This was a terrifying ordeal for the girls trapped inside and if they had not managed to contact the authorities, the consequences could have been devastating.

"The persons responsible showed a complete disregard for the safety and well-being of those inside."

Police appealed for anyone with information to phone detectives on 101, quoting reference number 1819 13/07/20, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Northern Ireland news