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As woman and her son escape injury in Larne petrol bombing, calls grow for end to 'mayhem'

By Victoria Leonard

Politicians have called for an end to the "mayhem" in Larne and warned that it could lead to a fatality after a mother and son escaped injury in a petrol bomb attack on their home.

The latest in a wave of arson attacks in the town saw the device thrown through the window of a house in Walnut Park, causing damage to the living room.

Fire Service personnel attended and extinguished the blaze.

Pictures taken after the attack show one of the occupants surveying the damage to her property.

A sofa shows extensive fire damage, and is covered in shards of glass.

The white and silver wallpaper is tinged with soot, while a once-white coffee table also looks to have been badly burned.

The floor is covered in ash.

Items of furniture damaged in the blaze have been laid out on the front lawn.

Detective Chief Inspector Dunny McCubbin said that while police investigations were at an early stage, "a strong line of enquiry is that it is linked to a number of recent incidents in the Larne area".

East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs called for those behind the attacks to "desist from their activity" and said that there could "easily have been significant injury or fatalities".

"This activity is very traumatic for those caught up in it and for their neigbours, and already we have seen an impact on business in the town," he said.

"This activity is having a significant detrimental impact on people in Larne, and the sooner they stop the better.

"They have no respect for life, property or the local community.

"I would call once more for those involved to desist from their activity, and for anyone who has information that can help bring this mayhem to an end to provide this to the police or Crimestoppers."

Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan, who is standing in the upcoming Westminster election, also condemned the attack.

He said: "A mother and son were in the house at the time but thankfully were not injured.

"This is the latest of a series of attacks in the town and unless they stop we could be looking at a fatality.

"The PSNI needs to take action against those responsible, including investigating the assets of those directing these attacks."

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson warned that "it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed".

"I would strongly encourage those involved to end the violence before more damage is done and lives are lost," he said.

"The nature of these violent attacks puts everyone in the community at risk.

"Anyone with information in relation to these incidents should contact the PSNI immediately or speak to Crimestoppers." Yesterday's incident followed an attack on Sunday in which a car was driven into the front of a house on the town's Killyglen Road and set on fire.

In a separate incident earlier that week, a car was driven backwards into a hair salon on the town's Main Street and set on fire, causing extensive damage to the business.

Prior to that, five vehicles were extensively damaged after being torched over the Easter weekend. There was a failed attempt to set a sixth alight.

Police in Larne can be contacted on 101, quoting reference number 217 28/04/17 for the most recent incident.

Information can also be given anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

BY VICTORIA LEONARD

Belfast Telegraph

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