United calls for end to fire attacks ‘madness’ in Larne

Police at the scene of the arson attack Walnut Park, Larne
Police at the scene of the arson attack Walnut Park, Larne

United calls for an end to the ‘tit for tat’ attacks which have shocked the Larne area have been issued after Friday’s arson incident .

It was the 11th to have taken place in the town in just under a fortnight.

A house at Walnut Park was petrol-bombed just after 8am.

A mother and son were forced to flee the property after a blaze was started deliberately in the living room. The occupants were checked at the scene by paramedics although they were not injured.

Detective Dunny McCubbin said: “It is believed at this stage that a petrol bomb was thrown through the front window of the house at around 8am.

“The device broke the window, ending up in the living room of the property.

“The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service personnel attended and extinguished a fire and made the device safe.

“Our enquiries into this incident are at an early stage but a strong line of enquiry is that it is linked to a number of recent incidents in the Larne area.”

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the blaze in the semi-detached property had been started deliberately.

Four fire crews were called to the emergency, two from Larne, one from Carrick and one from Ballyclare.

The previous Sunday, a home at Killyglen Road was damaged by fire after a car was driven up into the property and set alight.

On Easter Monday night, a car was reversed into a hair salon at Main Street and torched.

During the Easter weekend, there was a spate of arson attacks on cars across the town and a house was attacked at Mill Road.

A delegation of local Ulster Unionist Party representatives has met senior police officers at Larne PSNI Station to discuss the “criminal feud” which police believe to have started as the result of a “falling out between two individuals”.

Speaking after a meeting with senior police officers, Roy Beggs MLA said: “The Ulster Unionist Party backs the rule of law and not the rule of the jungle and we will remain totally supportive of the PSNI as they continue to try and combat the ongoing issues.

“We were given details of the additional police resources and patrolling that have been committed to the Larne area to try to combat the feuding elements. It is imperative that those who have endangered life are brought to justice and that no more innocent bystanders are caught up in what has become a tit-for-tat fall out.”

Party colleague John Stewart MLA added: “The only legitimate force of law and order is the PSNI, and people deciding to take the law into their own hands and seek revenge themselves only leads to a downward spiral of destruction.

“The fear is that if this continues someone will end up dead.”

Oliver McMullan, Sinn Fein’s East Antrim election candidate, commented: “This latest petrol bomb attack on a house in Larne was wrong and I condemn it. Unless they stop we could be looking at a fatality.

“The PSNI need to take action against those responsible, including investigating the assets of those directing these attacks.”

l Information can be passed to police by ringing 101 or 0800 555111.