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Call for more proactive approach from PSNI to end wave of attacks

By Victoria Leonard

East Antrim's political representatives have called for the spate of attacks which have engulfed Larne to end now.

Disgust was expressed by all the parties, with calls for the PSNI to be more visible.

Local DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he had been contacted by frightened constituents about what was going on.

"Apart from the bad publicity these actions have brought to the town, the impact of the violence has been felt by the wider community because people fear that they and their property will be targeted next," he said.

"I have been contacted by neighbours of some of those attacked and they are obviously scared that they will either be targeted wrongly or be caught in the crossfire.

"It is important that the police step up their presence in the area."

Party colleague Gordon Lyons MLA said Larne had "been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons over Easter".

"These incidents bring the area into disrepute and damage the reputation of the hard-working community," he said.

"The majority of people in this community are against this behaviour and it will not be tolerated.

"The people responsible have no regard for Larne, lives or property. In particular, a local business has been damaged. This is reckless behaviour against those who want to go about their daily lives.

"I totally condemn their actions and I am calling for an end to this spate of activity. I also would urge anyone with any details to contact the PSNI."

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said that the arson attacks "endangered individuals and the community" and called for a "policing response" to address the crime wave.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson describing the current situation as "extremely serious".

"The range of incidents - from cars to town centre premises - cannot be allowed to escalate further and I would urge anyone with information to speak to the police," he said.

"Fire is destructive and unpredictable, with each senseless act increasing the risk that someone will get hurt."

Sinn Fein spokesman Oliver McMullan has called for an urgent meeting with local PSNI commanders to discuss community concerns about the spate of arsons.

"These arson attack are nothing but criminality and must be condemned," he said. "This situation can't be tolerated. Community policing was removed from Larne and it left a void that has been filled by criminality. Larne needs community policing to address the situation immediately."

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