Belfast Telegraph

Anger as vandals smash up 10 cars

by Rebecca Petticrew

EAST Belfast car owners are on high alert after ten vehicles were damaged in acts of "wanton vandalism" on Friday night.

Police received the first report of damage to the side window of a car on Hillsborough Parade shortly before 11pm.

"The damage is alleged to have been caused by the occupants of a passing car," a police spokesperson said.

At around the same time, five cars parked on Dunraven Avenue had their windows smashed by what police believe was a hammer or similar implement.

Just after midnight the rear window of a car was broken on Templemore Avenue. The vehicle is owned by senior Orange Order member and local minister, Rev Mervyn Gibson.

He told the Community Telegraph he did not think his car had been singled-out for attack, rather that it was a case of "wanton vandalism".

"From what one eyewitness said there was a car going down the street and the windows were smashed, so it sounds like there was someone driving around in a car and someone else was hanging out of the window and smashing cars with a hammer," he said.

Rev Gibson said the incident was unusual for the area: "I've lived here for fifteen years and it's the first time that any such damage has been caused to my vehicle."

Another affected resident, Wesley Haddock, told UTV that he found smashed glass all over his child's baby seat.

"Nobody wants that sort of thing in the area, especially now that nobody can afford to put windows in their cars," he said.

Police received reports overnight on August 2/3 of damage to two cars in Ballyhackamore.

Damage to a second car in Hillsborough Parade was reported to police on Saturday morning.

Alliance MLA for east Belfast Judith Cochrane condemned those responsible for the damage.

"There is no place in our society for this type of mindless violence. I utterly condemn those responsible for this vandalism. I do not know why somebody would seek to damage cars in this way, she said.

"If anybody has any information about this spate of vandalism then I would urge them to contact the police."

A police spokesperson said investigating officers have not established links between the incidents at this stage.

Anyone with information about either incident is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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