Belfast police urged to act over violent sword attack
The PSNI have been urged to step up patrols to "make sure there's no-one running about the streets with a sword" in north Belfast.
The call from a DUP councillor comes after three men armed with bats and bars and a fourth wielding a sword forced their way into a house. A man in the house was punched in the head by the swordsman.
It happened at a house in Oakley Street shortly after midnight last Wednesday.
Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson said the gang threatened the occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman.
"Three of the intruders wore balaclavas and were armed with bats and bars," he said.
"The fourth, who was not wearing a balaclava, was armed with a sword. He is described as about 19 or 20 years old, thin, around 5ft 7in tall, with short dark hair brushed forward. This fourth man punched the male occupant to the head. The intruders then smashed a front window as they fled the scene."
DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst described the attack as "crazy". He said: "The police need to be doing their job, and make sure that there's no-one running about the streets with a sword.
"They need to step up patrols to ensure people's safety. I also think there needs to be tighter controls on accessing dangerous weapons. Things like batons and swords shouldn't be easily accessible."
PUP councillor Julie-Ann Corr-Johnston said that burglaries in the area are becoming "increasingly violent".
"Burglaries are somewhat commonplace in north Belfast. However, more alarmingly, they are becoming increasingly violent," she said.
"An act which not only traumatises the victim, victims in this case, but leaves neighbours and the wider community feeling vulnerable and anxious.
"The perpetrators have no regard or concern for the impact their actions have on another human being's physical and mental well being.
"They are anti-community and ought to feel the weight of the law."
The PSNI called the incident a "despicable attack and an absolutely horrendous experience for the couple".
"We are working diligently to investigate the incident and identify the offenders," a spokesman said. "We carry out daily targeted patrolling in north Belfast and meet regularly with local representatives and community groups to discuss local issues or any areas of concern.
"We take our responsibility to keep people safe seriously and we are proactive in our efforts to deter and detect criminality.
"The community can also support us in this by keeping an eye out for any suspicious or unusual behaviour and pro-actively reporting anything out of the ordinary to police promptly."
The PSNI are asking anyone who witnessed this incident or who has information to contact detectives in Musgrave Police Station on 101, quoting reference 12 of 14/02/18.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.