Belfast Telegraph

Racist thugs blamed for smashing windows at north Belfast home

By Cate McCurry

Children as young as two years old were asleep when a house came under attack from racist extremists early yesterday morning.

A number of windows were smashed at the north Belfast home at around 2am, in an incident police are treating as hate crime.

A man, who reported the attack to police, was inside the property in Deacon Street at the time with several children.

Nobody was injured.

The downstairs front window was badly damaged while two window panes in the front door were also smashed.

Inside the property shattered glass lay strewn across a sofa and a children's toy.

Local residents say the young family, believed to be from eastern Europe, have been living in the area for almost a year.

An elderly neighbour said she was too afraid to leave her home after hearing a loud bang.

The woman, who is in her 90s and has lived on the street for almost 50 years, said there has been a number of racially-motivated attacks in the area recently.

Another neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said she was wakened by a loud bang.

"I heard this commotion outside and I looked out and saw the police," she said.

"It's awful that this happened to a young eastern European family, particularly because there is a toddler who lives in the house.

"It's totally wrong that something like this should happen here," she added.

UUP councillor for the area David Browne appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

He said: "I would completely condemn this attack because no one has the right to be putting people out of their home.

"There is nothing that warrants these types of attacks and if anyone has information about someone, don't take matters into your own hands, go and tell the police about it."

SDLP councillor Pat Convery, who is chair of the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership said: "This needless attack on the property of an eastern European family in the Deacon Street area is utterly unjustifiable.

"This must have been a very frightening experience for the family concerned and I have no doubt the wider community will rally behind them."

Meanwhile, police are treating an attack on a man in east Belfast as a hate crime.

The victim was assaulted between 10am and 10.40am on Friday, outside a shop on the Lower Newtownards Road.

He was approached by another man who assaulted him before walking off in the direction of Dee Street. It is understood the man was targeted because of his nationality.

BACKGROUND

Loyalists have been blamed for the most recent spate of racist attacks across Belfast.

Most have occurred in east Belfast, where seven attacks happened within 10 days last month.

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