‘Tit-for-tat’ violence in Larne condemned

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A series of arson attacks in Larne during the Easter holiday period has been strongly condemned by local elected representatives.

A number of cars were targeted and a town centre business was gutted after a car was used to smash through the shutters of a hairdressing salon at Main Street and set alight.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

In a statement, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said: “Apart from the bad publicity these actions have brought to the town, the impact of the violence has been felt by the wider community because people fear that they and their property will also be affected by the war between two criminal gangs who are now involved in tit-for-tat violence against each other.

“I have been contacted by neighbours of some of those attacked and they are obviously scared that they will either be targeted wrongly or be caught in the crossfire.

“It is important that the police step up their presence in the area and especially keep the members of these gangs under surveillance.”

Party colleague DUP MLA Gordon Lyons added: “Larne has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons over the Easter period. These incidents bring the area into disrepute and damage the reputation of the hard-working community.

“The majority of people in this community are against this behaviour and it will not be tolerated. The people responsible have no regard for Larne, lives or property.

“In particular, a local business has been damaged. This is reckless behaviour against those who want to go about their daily lives.

“I totally condemn their actions and I am calling for an end to this spate of activity. I also would urge anyone with any details to contact the PSNI.”

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has strongly condemned those behind the arson attacks in Larne.

Describing the situation as “extremely serious”, Mr. Dickson appealed for anyone with information to contact the police immediately.

He stated: “Arson is an extremely serious, dangerous crime and there can be no place in Larne for these sorts of violent incidents.

“The range of incidents – from cars to town centre premises – cannot be allowed to escalate further and I would urge anyone with information to speak to the police immediately.

“Fire is destructive and unpredictable, with each senseless act increasing the risk that someone will get hurt. My thoughts are with the those whose property has already fallen victim and the local members of the Fire and Rescue Services who face the tough task of bringing each blaze under control.”