Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Terrified Polish family may move over arson attack

©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 21st August 2012Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/Presseye.com Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan at the home of 5 Polish people in Glenarm where they were rescued after an arson attack at their home.

A Polish family have said they may be forced to move after arsonists tried to burn them out of their Co Antrim home.

Thugs filled a tyre with flammable liquid and set it alight outside their house in Glenarm early yesterday morning.

It is the third time the family, who only moved to the area this year, have been targeted by criminals.

No-one was injured but the family, who asked not to be named, said they have been left terrified by the latest attack.

“We are very scared, and we have to think about what we do next — do we stay or do we go to another place?” said a woman who escaped the blaze.

“We just want to live in peace. We want to live like everyone else here.”

The attack took place as it emerged arson attacks occur, on average, on a daily basis in the province. Yet in the majority of cases, police fail to catch the culprits.

The latest incident occurred around 1am yesterday in the Mark Street area of the seaside village.

A couple aged 40 and 37 and their two children, 15 and 9, were in the house, along with a friend.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the woman described being woken by the frantic shouts of neighbours.

“They were knocking our door, kicking it, shouting ‘your house, your house, it’s burning’,” she said.

“We woke up and my husband managed to get our children outside. The flames were from the bottom of the house to the roof. There was a strong smell of smoke.”

She said her family have been living in Northern Ireland for eight years.

They moved to Glenarm in February, but have suffered several attacks.

A fortnight after they moved in, a petrol bomb was hurled at their house while paint stripper was also poured on their van.

However, yesterday’s attack is the most serious so far, with the family saying they are lucky to be alive.

“If the neighbours had not come we may never have woken,” the woman added.

“We are very lucky, if you can call it lucky, but we are shocked and very stressed.”

According to her husband, they are now considering leaving the area.

The family said they were grateful for the quick actions of their neighbours.

The Mayor of Larne, Alliance councillor Gerardine Mulvenna, said those responsible were “mindless thugs”.

“This attack is not typical of the great community spirit of Glenarm. I know local people are as horrified as I am by this attack,” she said.

SDLP councillor Martin Wilson said it could have ended in tragedy.

Police said the attack is being treated as criminal damage and arson. They have appealed for information.

Background

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed how thugs are behind an arson attack on someone's home every day across Northern Ireland.

PSNI figures reveal 1,585 arson offences were reported during 2011/12, including 416 attacks on residential property. Another 541 crimes were recorded from April to July this year, 144 at a dwelling or home.

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