Dervock flute band bus and instruments destroyed in fire
A bus and instruments belonging to a flute band have been destroyed in a fire.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire outside Dervock Orange Hall on the Carncullagh Road, Co Antrim, which happened in the early hours of Friday morning.
UUP Councillor Darryl Wilsonsaid said he believed the fire was an arson attack. He said: "This was not only an attack on the band, but an attack on the entire village as the bus was utilised by the community on many occasions throughout the year."
North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey added: "This is a despicable act and I have already spoken this morning to police to see what leads they may have as to what happened and who was responsible.
"If this was arson I would appeal for full cooperation with the police and that there is no retaliation. Regrettably there are a small element of individuals who are determined to spread sectarian hatred."
An Orange Order spokesman said: “The arsonists responsible for the vile and premeditated attack on private transport in Dervock have nothing to offer society – only turmoil and discord. Such criminality, and the trail of destruction in its aftermath, is absolutely reprehensible and must be universally condemned.”
Inspector Michael McDonnell said: "The cause of the fire is being investigated and we are appealing for witnesses to come forward. Anyone who was in the area this morning and saw any suspicious activity is asked to contact Coleraine police station on the non-emergency number 101."
In another attack, graffiti was daubed on Newmills Orange hall near Dungannon. This attack is believed to have occurred during the early hours of Thursday morning.
A local Orange Order spokesman said: “Such wanton vandalism is not reflective of community relations in the area. The minority rump responsible for attempting to stir up division have absolutely no support, and ought to be ashamed of their actions.”
A total of 17 Orange halls have been targeted so far this year.
The Institution appealed for no retaliation and urged anyone with any information in relation to the Dervock and Newmills attacks to contact the police as a matter of urgency.