Belfast Telegraph

Irish couple forced to flee after sectarian attack on Co Antrim flat

The scene at Sunnylands Grove in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, after an attack on a property
The scene at Sunnylands Grove in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, after an attack on a property
Lauren Gray
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A couple have escaped injury after an attack on their Co Antrim home, which is being investigated as a sectarian hate crime.

A window was broken and paint thrown at the property in Sunnylands Groves in Carrickfergus at around 11.55pm on Wednesday night. There were no reports of injuries.

A PSNI spokesman said it is understood that four men may have been involved in the incident at the estate, which is close to the town centre.

It is understood that a couple from the Republic of Ireland had been living in the ground floor flat for several months but have now left the area. A neighbour said yesterday that the incident had been a "frightening" experience in what is otherwise a relatively quiet area.

"I have lived here for a number of years and there has never been any trouble before," they added.

Alliance councillor for Carrickfergus Lauren Gray said the attack had been "disturbing" for the local community.

"There is no place for sectarianism in our society and I know the vast majority of people in Carrickfergus are opposed to the actions of those who carried out this attack. "I'm relieved nobody was injured. The eyes of the world are on Northern Ireland this week, with the Open teeing off today. It's a real shame for Carrickfergus to be generating this kind of negative headline.

"I urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible and send a signal that sectarianism has no place in our community."

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart added: "It's deeply concerning to learn of the suspected sectarian hate crime in Sunnyland's Grove last night.

"These attacks are despicable and have no place in our society.

"I would urge anyone with any information about this attack to contact the PSNI on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers - such lawlessness cannot go unpunished."

Police say they are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime and have appealed for anyone with information to call 101, quoting reference 2180 of July 17.

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