Belfast Telegraph

Belfast residents' anger as tyres slashed on dozen cars in Short Strand rampage

By Stewart Robson

At least 12 vehicles had their tyres slashed in a spate of overnight attacks.

Furious residents condemned the vandalism, which police said took place in the Short Strand area of east Belfast before 6am yesterday.

Sergeant Anne McCourt said: "At this time there is no suggestion that the incidents are hate crimes."

The majority of the attacks happened in Perry Court, Madrid Street, Clandeboye Drive and Clandeboye Gardens.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Mairead O'Donnell slammed the culprits, saying people had been left shocked and angered.

"This has left local people out of pocket and inconvenienced by these attacks on their cars," she said.

Particular damage was caused to vehicles in Clandeboye Gardens, which backs on to a walled interface with the Albertbridge Road.

Four cars belonging to the same family were targeted, with an overall repair bill totalling nearly £500.

Frankie Brennan, whose own vehicle and those of his wife, daughter and son-in-law were damaged, spoke out about what he said was a rise in such incidents in the area.

"The anti-social behaviour around here has got worse within the last few years and these thugs think they can simply just get away with it," he said.

"Whether that's because they believe there's no alternative, I'm not sure.

"I'm concerned about how the police have been dealing with the behaviour in the area."

Mr Brennan's wife was shocked and angered by the vandalism.

While a motive for the attacks is still unknown, she said she hoped it was "only a one-off". Mrs Brennan added: "I only found out while chatting to a friend that lives round the corner.

"My daughter will have to fork out £200 to pay for a new tyre and my son-in-law had to stop off on his way to work this morning and pay £60.

"I own a Volkswagen Golf and it's going to cost me £92 per tyre. The amount of money it's costing is staggering, and I already had a puncture before this even happened."

Seamus McDonnell (69), of Perry Court, was about to take his partner to work at 7.30am when he found that his vehicle had been targeted.

"Initially I thought that I'd run over a box until I got out and saw that one of my front tyres had been damaged," he explained.

"It didn't take me long to see that two had been slashed.

"It cost me £90 to get two new tyres this morning.

"It's really going to set me back."

The PSNI appealed for anyone with information about the attacks to contact it on the non-emergency 101 number.

Belfast Telegraph

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