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Duke Street residents ‘under siege’ for months

Two residents from Duke Street have spoken out about attacks on their homes — one pointing the blame in the direction of the PSNI and the media for not acting quickly enough and for portraying a one sided story of the violent incidents of recent weeks on the interface of the Newtownards Road.

Kathy Hart, from Duke Street, whose back garden sits on the interface, told the Community Telegraph that missiles, petrol bombs and rocks had been coming over the fence behind her house for five months.

She said: “This has been happening since February — I phoned UTV and the BBC, I got a call back by a reporter from U105 and was interviewed but it was never broadcast — they kept asking me was this “tit for tat” and I kept saying it wasn’t — how is it tit for tat when I’m standing doing my dishes and this stuff just comes over the wall?”

Ms Hart said she was washing up at 7.30pm on Sunday when a “big bit of slate” came over and knocked over her plants.

“Then more bricks and slate came over the fence and paint and petrol bombs came over too.

“They’ve been shooting catties (catapults) from the window across the road as well.

“I rang the police and community representatives — the stuff stopped coming over, but then they just showered us — it was like it was raining rocks.

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“They called us Orange b*****ds, scum and told me they were going to burn me out of this house.”

One of her sons had seen golf balls being thrown over ‘peace walls’ and they were marked “KAH — Kill All Hun”.

This week Kathy Hart’s back garden was still littered with rubble, paint, and her windows pockmarked with what looked like BB gun and catapult shots.

She said her children were unable to use the back garden, and their trampoline was being used to cover her oil tank to stop it from being set alight.

She said she felt like she was under siege and like being held “in a concentration camp”.

Her next door neighbour who declined to be named, said he was considering moving from the area after 23 years of incidents.

He said: “I’ve been paint bombed, roof tiles have been bust and I have windows that won’t break but they’ve gone opaque and I can’t see out them.

“It’s a frenetic situation — I would rarely call the police but I’ve called them three times in the last week. I think they’ve been taken by surprise as well.”

Maggie Hutton, Ballymacarrett Committee member, claimed the PSNI officers on the scene on Sunday, June 26, did not act until she showed them photographs of youths launching attacks from a derelict building.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “These incidents show you the mentality of people throwing things over the interface.

“There is ongoing work to deal with issues of interface violence where certain young people from both sides of the community throw things over interfaces.”

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