Disabled woman assaulted by burglar
There has been condemnation of a thuggish house-breaker who attacked and left a disabled woman injured and traumatised before escaping on a bicycle.
The injured woman needed hospital treatment for shock and injuries to her face.
The thug struck at dawn in a densely populated area of south Belfast and afterwards escaped on a bicycle along an alleyway.
Detectives said they are investigating an aggravated burglary at a house in Beit Street in the Donegall Road area of south Belfast on Sunday morning.
PSNI Detective Sergeant Natalie McNally said: "A male entered the house at around 6am and after encountering the female occupant inside, threatened her, then assaulted her.
"He then left the house and fled the scene on a bicycle along the rear alleyway.
"He was described as being around 6ft tall with short, dark hair and was wearing a white hooded top."
The police officer said the woman, aged in her 50s and registered disabled, was taken to hospital for treatment for "facial injuries and shock".
DS McNally added: "This was a disgraceful attack on a vulnerable person."
South Belfast Ulster Unionist councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon, said he was shocked at the level of violence used.
He said he was disgusted at the treatment meted out to the victim.
Mr Dudgeon said: "It is horrible to hear."
He said there has been a surge in break-ins in the south of the city over the winter.
Added the councillor: "We've experienced a significant rise in the number of burglaries in south Belfast in the last few months.
"I am a member of the District Policing and Community Safety Partnership and that is my priority in trying to concentrate resources on dealing with burglaries."
He said as well as dealing with the immediate impact of break-ins, the victims of such crimes often feel as if their homes have been violated.
Mr Dudgeon continued: "There is a psychological effect, never mind the physical violence, and your confidence in your security in your home goes."
The councillor said information given by the PSNI shows that Belfast is plagued by a hard-core band of burglars.
"The police say the same 100 burglars in Belfast do a huge proportion of the break-ins. It is a recognised fact that more burglaries are done by a small number of people than otherwise is the case."
"The other question is will the courts deal with burglars? - particularly prolific burglars. They are reluctant to use jail terms."
DS McNally added: "I would urge anyone who saw a man matching the description in the area or who has any information about this incident to come forward and give that information to detectives at Musgrave on 101. Information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."