Belfast Telegraph

Carrick barber heartbroken by arson attack eight weeks after opening

By Stewart Robson

The owner of a barber shop in Carrickfergus has said she is "heartbroken" after an arson attack damaged part of her newly-owned business.

Tanya Butler opened the barber shop only eight weeks ago and works there with her sister Samantha.

Extensive damage was caused to the shutters and main window of the premises.

Police are investigating after a wheelie bin was set alight and shoved into the shutters of the shop.

In the same incident two residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

Police are treating the fire, which happened at around 2.50am on Monday morning in the Cheston Street/Market Place area of the Co Antrim town, as deliberate.

Tanya, who lives in Greenisland with her partner and two-year-old daughter, said she found out about the fire from a family member.

"My mum rang down so we could finish papering out the back (of the shop)," she said.

"Then she came across what had happened."

She continued: "We have cameras on the inside of the shop and you can see the fire starting at around 02:19."

The 30-year-old, who previously worked in another barber's in the town, said her business had been booming.

She added that she can't remember an incident like this happening before in the area but said she expects the damage to the exterior will be costly.

"I just think this was someone with nothing better to do. I haven't noticed any suspicious behaviour around the shop before.

"If anyone witnessed anything or anyone in the area, please get in contact with the police."

Despite the fire, resilient Tanya said the shop is back open for business today.

"I'm too stubborn and I also have a child to feed. This could have been a lot worse. Thank God the people were evacuated when they were."

It is believed that another wheelie bin in nearby Cheston Street was also set on fire but did not cause any damage or injuries.

Sergeant Stephen Mellon from the PSNI said: "No-one was injured in the incident and residents have now been allowed to return to their homes.

"The fire is being treated as deliberate at this time.

"I would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to get in contact with police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 163 of 11/6/18.

"We would be keen to hear from anyone who saw a man in a grey hoodie, who was reported to be in the area just before the fire started."

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