Northern Ireland news

Romanian's fear as car rams Tyrone business in hate crime

Damage caused to a shed used by the car wash near Coalisland
Brendan Hughes

A ROMANIAN man has told of his fear after a car rammed his Co Tyrone business in an attack police are treating as a hate crime.

Florin Stana's car wash on Washingbay Road, near Coalisland, was targeted at about 2.30am on Sunday.

Two vehicles drove into the yard and one was driven into a shed door, causing damage.

CCTV footage shows the camera shaking as the car is rammed into the shed.

The vehicle driven into the shed was a black Volkswagen Jetta, while the accompanying car was a white Mercedes Benz C Class with black alloys, sunroof and bootlid spoiler.

Mr Stana (20), who lives in Tandragee and has an eight-month-old son, said his cousin's barber shop was attacked on the same site last year and he feels he now has to close up.

"I feel really upset and scared because I feel someone doesn't want me over there and somebody hates me, but I don't know why. Probably it's racism," he said.

"My cousin just left the barber's because someone broke windows and doors and destroyed the container after we spent some money over there, and he was scared as well."

Martin O'Neill, who owns the yard where the car wash operates, said: "I think it's a disgrace that this is happening.

"It's really ugly to see this happening to him and he thinks he has nobody to help him, and he was afraid to go to police."

CCTV footage shows the camera shaking as the car is rammed into the shed.

SDLP councillor Malachy Quinn also condemned the attack at Clonoe Crossroads.

"I have spoken to the owners of the shop and property and they have told me this is one of several incidents that have happened to them and they are not sure why they have been targeted," he said.

"The business they run is extremely popular with the local community and this news will come as a shock to many.

Damage caused to a shed used by the car wash near Coalisland

"I urge anyone with information to come forward. These type of actions have been rejected by the people of Clonoe/Coalisland for years and they will not be accepted now."

The incident is being treated by the PSNI as a racially-motivated hate crime.

Police appealed for witnesses and urged anyone with information to phone the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 483 of 21/05/17, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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