Residents left stunned after masked gang ram Londonderry home in van
Residents living beside a house badly damaged after being rammed multiple times by a van have spoken of their shock as they witnessed the chaotic scenes on Tuesday evening.
The entire front of the house in the Glendale Road area of Londonderry crumbled after masked men crashed a Transit van into it several times.
Police are also investigating unconfirmed reports a number of shots were heard at the rear of the property at the same time.
There has been speculation that the attack was linked to a feud within the Travelling community.
The family who live in the house were not present when the attack took place and no one was around the property yesterday.
The men set fire to the van before making their getaway in cars, leaving people in the street dumbfounded and frightened as fire crews extinguished the blaze.
One woman said she couldn't believe her eyes when she opened her door after hearing all the commotion.
"I actually noticed all the blue lights and went out to see the fire engines and police cars so I walked up the street to see what was happening and I could not believe my eyes," she said.
"This van was in the middle of the road and you could smell the smoke where these men had set it on fire, but the most shocking thing of all was the state of that house.
"The whole front of the house has just collapsed. I was actually expecting to see the rest of the house come tumbling down too and I am amazed that hasn't happened."
She added: "It is a terrible carry on. It wasn't like this was done in the middle of the night, when no one was around. It was still light and there could easily have been young people out on the street. These men didn't care who saw them but they didn't care if that family was inside the house or not.
"Imagine if they had been and were sitting watching the TV. It is only by good luck no one was killed."
Local SDLP councillor Brian Tierney was on the scene shortly after the attack.
"The scenes were like nothing I have witnessed before nor do I wish to see the like of them again," he said.
"We are very, very lucky that no one was killed here in Glendale last night because if someone had been standing or sitting behind that living room wall when it came in on top of them, God only knows what we could have been dealing with now.
"Glendale is a large residential area with a lot of young families and I would assume there were young children close to where this happened and they will have been traumatised by seeing a number of masked men carrying out such a vicious attack.
"I have viewed video footage on social media of the attack and these men appeared very relaxed about what they were doing. There was certainly no sense of urgency about them to leave the scene."
Police have branded the incident "reckless" and an investigating officer appealed for witnesses to contact them.
"We received a report around 8.20pm that a white Ford Transit van was driven several times into a house, causing extensive damage," said a detective.
"The van was then set on fire on the road, and masked men are reported to have smashed windows at the property before fleeing in two other vehicles - a red Ford Mondeo and a green Toyota Avensis.
He added: "We are aware of a report that a shot may have been fired. However, our enquiries are at an early stage, and we are working to establish exactly what occurred and a motive for this completely reckless attack."
Anyone with information or who witnessed the attack can contact detectives at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference 1883 of 03/09/19.