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'Extremely reckless' arson attacks in Downpatrick may be linked, say police

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Killough Walk, Downpatrick. Credit: Google Maps

Killough Walk, Downpatrick. Credit: Google Maps

Killough Walk, Downpatrick. Credit: Google Maps

Two "extremely reckless" arson attacks in the Downpatrick area during the early hours of Tuesday morning may be linked, police have said.

The first incident saw a seat set alight outside a flat in the Killough Walk area at around 4.10am. The seat was placed against the front door of the property and set on fire, causing extensive damage to the door.

One man in his 20s was inside the flat at the time of the blaze, but not injured.

Smoke damage was caused to the communal area of the flats, resulting in a man in his 90s receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.

Shortly after 4.15am a white Seat Leon car was set on fire outside a property in the Vianstown Heights area.

A brick was thrown through the rear window of the car, which enabled the fire to start in the vehicle.

The fire service attended and put out the blaze, but the car was completely destroyed.

Detective Inspector Handley said: “Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, we are investigating a link between these two incidents of deliberate ignition.

“The damage caused to a residential premises in a built-up area is an extremely reckless act, which could have resulted in potential loss of life.

"The disregard of those responsible endangered the lives of the local community, with one man treated for smoke inhalation. We are very fortunate we are not dealing with a much worse situation.

“We are appealing to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in either the Killough Walk or Vianstown Heights area of Downpatrick in the early hours of this morning. We are particularly keen to speak with anyone who noticed any suspicious vehicles located in both areas.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact detectives on 101, quoting reference number 115 10/03/20."

Belfast Telegraph