Belfast Telegraph

Meeting to discuss attacks

By Pauline Reynolds

A public meeting is to be held next Thursday in response to the growing number of attacks on the elderly in south Belfast.

It’s being organised by local MLA, Conall McDevitt, who says such incidents are becoming “a weekly occurrence”.

Representatives from the PSNI, Age Concern Help The Aged NI and Belfast City Council are expected to attend.

In advance of the public meeting, Mr McDevitt plans to have talks tomorrow with the PSNI to discuss the continuing attacks.

And he has called on police to “redouble their efforts” to catch the “violent criminals responsible”.

In the latest incident two elderly women, one in her nineties and the other in her eighties, were subjected to a terrifying ordeal at the weekend.

At around 8.10pm last Saturday night, police were alerted to a property in the Cricklewood Park area.

They received a report that up to three masked males, one carrying what is believed to have been a crowbar, forced their way into the house.

Police said the gang “manhandled” the pensioners before ransacking a number of rooms.

The women were then left in a bedroom and the men made off with a small amount of cash.

Neither was physically injured but both were badly shaken by their traumatic ordeal.

And just over a week earlier, on February 18, an 80-year-old woman was restrained by one of a number of men when her house was burgled.

She sustained a cut to her lip during the incident in the Upper Malone Park at around 9.15pm.

Following last Saturday’s incident, Mr McDevitt said he was shocked to hear of yet another such attack in south Belfast.

And he called on members of the public to attend next week’s meeting.

“This meeting is an opportunity for concerned residents to speak to local representatives and voice their concerns on the latest burglaries,” he said.

“I would urge as many people as possible to come along and be a part of the community response to these attacks.

“It is important that we pull together as a community and work alongside the statutory agencies, to ensure that these attacks on the elderly members of our community are put to an end.”

The public meeting will be held on Thursday, March 11, at 7pm in St Brides Parish Hall, Derryvolgie Avenue.

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