Belfast Telegraph

Belfast's Holyland residents being 'terrorised', says Bradshaw after cars burnt out

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw visiting the scene on Wednesday morning.
Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw visiting the scene on Wednesday morning.
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Residents in the Holyland area of Belfast area being "terrorised" by antisocial behaviour, an MLA has said after a number of cars were burnt out.

Police are investigating two overnight arson attacks on five vehicles in the Holyland area.

In the first incident, police were called at 1.45am on Wednesday as the fire service dealt with four cars on fire in Jerusalem Street.

A Mini was completely destroyed while a Ford Fiesta, Renault Megane and Volkswagen Golf were extensively damaged.

Three cars have been burnt out over night in the Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland.
Three cars have been burnt out over night in the Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland.
Three cars have been burnt out over night in the Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland.

In the second incident, which was reported just after 5.30am, police received another report that the fire service were attending another vehicle on fire in nearby Damascus Street. In this incident, a Volkswagen Polo was slightly damaged.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick described the incidents as "wanton destruction of people's hard earned property", adding that the consequences of the fires could have been "catastrophic".

“We are treating these incidents as arson and are following a number of lines of enquiry. We are also making enquiries into any potential links to two other incidents on Monday 7th October this year, when a Renault Clio and Audi which had been parked on Collingwood Avenue and a Volkswagen Sharan parked on Damascus Street were deliberately set on fire."

Holyland Residents have said they have not had peace since the return of the University term in September.

And Belfast City Council is to hold a multi-agency meeting on Friday on the continued anti-social behaviour.

Police had upped patrols in the area at the start of the term.

Three cars have been burnt out over night in the Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland.
Three cars have been burnt out over night in the Fitzroy Avenue in the Holyland.

Alliance south Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw said the return of "normal policing levels" saw no let up in the "negative behaviour terrorising local residents".

“This anti-social behaviour has now escalated, leading to many waking up today to find their treasured possession has been recklessly destroyed. We are also seeing mass brawls in the middle of the Ormeau Road, with drunk young people staggering about putting themselves and motorists in danger," she said.

The MLA added that the level of anti-social behaviour in the area has "far exceeded" young people having fun and is now "firmly in the realms of criminality"

"It is the PSNI has primary responsibility for dealing with this and I have written to the local area commander, asking for an increased police presence," the MLA said.

One Fitzroy Avenue resident told the Belfast Telegraph they had not had a night's sleep since the students returned after the summer.

"The noise and anti-social behaviour is the worst I’ve seen since I moved in 10 years ago," they said.

SDLP MLA for south Belfast Claire Hanna described the latest attack as "shocking" and had caused "extreme stress".

"Ongoing vandalism and antisocial behaviour plague the community here, and these incidents will heighten concern."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 79 of 23/10/19.

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