Northern Ireland

Man (56) released on police bail over string of racist incidents in south Belfast

Police in south Belfast had made the arrest on Saturday
Police in south Belfast had made the arrest on Saturday

A 56-year-old man arrested in south Belfast following a string of race hate-related incidents, including arson and threats, has been released on police bail.

Police said the man was released on Monday pending further enquiries.

He was detained on Sunday in connection with a number of race hate incidents in the area in recent months.

Police said he was questioned on suspicion of two counts of arson, following blazes on April 10 and 11, in which the shutters of a Sandy Row shop were set alight.

No one was hurt but damage was caused to the building.

He was also questioned on suspicion of two counts of threats to damage property, one count of a threat to kill, harassment and intimidation, following a number of reports between April and November of this year.

PSNI Superintendent Finola Dornan said at the time of his arrest that police hoped it "highlights how seriously we take reports of race related hate crimes and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice and supporting victims".

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She added: "Hate crime hurts communities on many levels.

"Racially motivated hate crime continues to be a priority issue for local police in south Belfast.”

After the man was released on Monday, a PSNI spokesperson said: "The investigation into incidents against a local business owner in the Sandy Row area, including a report of arson in April 2023, is continuing and anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or online at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport".