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Tourist targeted by would-be robber in broad daylight in west Belfast

A would-be street robber attempted to steal a tourist's camera bag in broad daylight in west Belfast
Marie Louise McConville

THIS is the dramatic moment a would-be street robber attempted to steal a tourist's camera bag in broad daylight in west Belfast.

It is believed the shocking incident happened just minutes after the visitor from France had taken photographs at the 'International Wall' on the Falls Road.

He was targeted on nearby Albert Street at around 1pm yesterday.

It is believed a car stopped and two men got out in an attempt to help.

The men are said to have given chase as the suspected robber made off, discarding a bicycle at one point and escaping on foot empty-handed.

A photograph was posted on social media by Beechmount Residents Collective with the caption: "Here's a robbery in broad daylight carried out on a French tourist in Albert Street within this last hour."

Police last night said there had been a "report of an attempted theft of articles from a vehicle belonging to two tourists, a male and a female, in the Albert Street area of the city at approximately 1pm".

A spokesman did not give further details but appealed for witnesses.

Elected representatives have spoken out in recent months about how a gang of anti-social elements have been terrorising the lower Falls community.

Just days ago, it emerged that youths had smashed their way into a block of flats at Ross Street to use communal hallways for drug activity.

There have also been reports of car-jackings and break-ins, including luggage and passports being stolen from tourists' cars.

Sinn Fein assembly member Fra McCann praised the tourist and those who intervened yesterday for their bravery.

"There are tens of thousands of tourists come for the International Wall on a yearly basis and this sends out all the wrong messages," he said.

Mr McCann said it was time statutory agencies took action to stop anti-social behaviour.

"It's not acceptable that people are terrorised by the same group of people."

Harry Connolly of west Belfast tourism body Fáilte Feirste Thiar described it as a "mindless and unprovoked attack".

"We are at the forefront of attracting tourists from right across the globe who continue to flock to this part of the city for our warm welcome and our unique tourism offering," he said.

"As far as we are concerned this is not only an attack on a visitor to our community but an attack on our entire community.

"We are currently trying to get in touch with the visitor in question to offer our warmest condolences and assistance."

* The tourist can contact The Irish News at newsdesk@irishnews.com

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