Belfast Telegraph

Spate of burglaries heralds horrible start to New Year

By Brett Campbell

Police are investigating a series of burglaries - including one in which the victims were threatened at gunpoint - in a New Year night of terror.

A number of men forced their way into a property in the Burneys Mews area of Newtownabbey in the early hours of yesterday morning.

One was armed with a suspected firearm and another was carrying a knife.

A number of people who were in the house were threatened at gunpoint before the intruders made off empty-handed.

Although none of the occupants were injured, they were left shaken following the incident which happened shortly before 2.25am.

Glengormley councillor John Blair said his first thoughts were with the victims, but expressed concerns over a number of recent incidents in the area.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the Alliance representative said: "I live fairly close to the area where this happened and I know that people will be very shocked and worried.

"I am concerned by the spate of recent burglaries in the area and would appeal for people to be watchful and be watchful for others."

He also appealed to local residents to secure their properties and report any suspicious activity.

Detective Sergeant Emme Wallace appealed for witnesses to contact detectives in Antrim on 101, quoting reference number 300 of 01/01/17.

Meanwhile, a man in his 50s was attacked in a another incident in Glenarm, Co Antrim, after three burglaries were reported in the area on New Year's Eve.

The man was beaten with a metal bar after he returned to his home on the Deerpark Road and was confronted by three intruders.

The victim was struck on the shoulder during the aggravated burglary before the three thieves made off in a stolen car with money taken from the property.

He did not sustain serious injuries in the attack, which happened shortly before 11.20pm on Saturday night.

The getaway vehicle - a blue Volkswagen Tiguan, which had been reported stolen from the Rectory Road area of Ballyclare earlier on Saturday evening - was found burned out on the Ballyhampton Road in Larne a short time later.

An attempt had also been made to steal a second car in a creeper-style burglary in the Riverdale Park area of Ballyclare around 10.15pm on Saturday.

Police are investigating a link between the three incidents in Glenarm and Ballyclare.

DUP councillor Mandy Girvan said: "I am shocked by these incidents and I am shocked for the man who arrived at his home to experience this.

"It's an absolute disgrace that someone could do this to another human being."

Warning people in the area to be careful, the councillor added: "I would appeal to people to be vigilant and to make sure they lock their windows and doors when leaving their homes."

Detectives have asked anyone with information about the movements of the blue Volkswagen Tiguan to contact them in Larne on 101 quoting reference number 1228 of 31/12/16.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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