Belfast Telegraph

9 arrested over arson attacks on Northern Ireland homes and vehicles

Nine arrests have been made in connection with arson attacks targeting police officer's homes and vehicles.

Police said the arrests are in connection with a probe into incidents in the Banbridge, Portadown and Gilford areas between April and July 2016.

A number of victims had their vehicles and homes attacked and in some cases destroyed.

The nine arrests were made following searches of properties in the Larne, Lisburn and Armagh, Banbridge and the greater Craigavon area on Tuesday morning.

The six men and three women, aged between 20 and 51, were arrested on suspicion of a range of offences including arson, arson with intent to endanger lives, theft, conspiracy to cause an explosion and possession of class A, B and C controlled drugs and possessing class A, B and C controlled drugs with intent to supply.

Detective Inspector Keith Gawley said: “Today’s search and arrest operation is in connection with our investigation into a number of incidents of arson endangering life at the homes of serving police officers in the Banbridge, Portadown and Gilford areas between April and July last year when a number of victims had their vehicles and homes attacked and in some cases destroyed. This investigation also focuses on offences involving drugs.

“The suspects have been taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning and a number of items have been removed for further examination. I would appeal to anyone who has any information relating to these arson endangering life incidents or any drug activity to contact detectives at Mahon Road.”

The chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Mark Lindsay, condemned the attacks.

Mr Lindsay said: "We’ve seen far too many attacks on the homes of Officers. Families have been left traumatised. Fortunately, no one was injured. They are a clear attempt to bully, intimidate and terrorise, but they won’t succeed.

"I wish to place on record the Federation’s abhorrence and disgust over what happened. Officers and their families, who are every bit a part of the community they serve, are entitled to a life free from this type of cowardly action.

"These vicious attacks on properties go hand in hand with the activities of terrorists who continue to amass detail on Officers. They are doing this because they want to kill and maim the people who serve the community but who they regard as enemies.

"Aggressive targeting demands extra vigilance, and I would appeal to communities to isolate, frustrate and thwart those who would do Officers and their families harm.

"Clearly, there are those who are determined to inflict pain and misery. We would ask for the help of the entire community to counter this threat level and to help the Police apprehend those involved."

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