Belfast Telegraph

Councillor condemns teens who started blazes in Belfast interface area

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A mob set fires in a built-up neighbourhood in the latest in a series of sectarian attacks at a Belfast interface area.

The Fire Service was called to tackle the blazes after teenagers ignited plastic and wooden fencing in Workman Avenue.

Witnesses claimed flames reached a height of 10ft and threatened to ignite nearby homes, many of which are lived-in by elderly people.

The attack was the third by youths from the mainly nationalist Springfield Road, local community leaders claimed.

Workman Avenue, just off the Shankill Road, is adjacent to a gate on to the Springfield Road. It is closed every night to stop either community launching attacks.

Shankill DUP councillor Nicola Verner said the incidents must be stopped before somebody is seriously injured.

"It is disgraceful that residents in Workman Avenue and Kirk Street are suffering from repeated sectarian attacks," she said."

Wednesday's incident happened just before 9pm. A Securitas worker arriving to lock the security gate reached the scene just as teenagers were fleeing back through the gate.

He called for the PSNI and the Fire and Rescue Service, who arrived quickly and extinguished the flames.

"These sort of hate crimes are totally inexcusable and have no place in modern society," said Ms Verner. "It appears that a certain small group of nationalist youths are responsible for many, if not all, of these attacks. I would appeal for any information which would bring them to justice and will stop these attacks to be passed on to the PSNI."

A police spokesman confirmed the PSNI was investigating the incident.

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