25 jobless after arson blitz on west Belfast shops
Around 25 people are believed to have been left out of work after an arson attack on a row of businesses on the outskirts of west Belfast.
The local community has been left angered by the blaze at the Colin Centre on the Pembrook Loop Road in Poleglass in the early hours of yesterday.
Four businesses – a beauty salon, a fish and chip shop, a convenience store and a taxi service – were hit in the attack.
Three of the shops were destroyed, while the convenience store suffered extensive damage to the roof.
Twenty-five people who are employed by the businesses are now out of work.
Police investigating the fire said that rubbish had been stacked up at the front of the properties and then set on fire at 4am yesterday.
A woman who lives beside the shops and who did not want to be identified told the Belfast Telegraph that the arsonists "don't know what they're doing to their own communities".
SDLP councillor Brian Heading condemned the attack, which he said could have "jeopardised the safety of others".
Frank Denny, who runs two of the businesses at the Housing Executive-owned centre, was too upset to speak in public about the incident yesterday. Residents said he has been left devastated by the damage to his businesses.
Sinn Fein junior minister Jennifer McCann said the local area was a "hotspot for anti-social activity".
Police are appealing for anyone who noticed any suspicious activity to contact Lisburn CID on 0845 600 8000.
Alternatively, information can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.