Larne attack was ‘a vile act of attempted intimdation’
There has been widespread condemnation of the arson attack on the home of a serving police officer in Larne.
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland says the destruction of three cars outside the home on Glenarm Road in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) was a “vile act of attempted intimidation”.
PFNI Chair, Mark Lindsay, said: “This was thuggery and an attempt to intimidate an off-duty officer. In the early hours of this morning, some individual or group decided they would target the property of an officer.
“Skulking in the dark, they set alight and destroyed three cars at the front of the house. Thankfully, no one was injured. This arson attack was an act of terror, an act of madness.
“This was a vile and reprehensible action against an officer who works to protect the community. Faceless bullies need to be apprehended, and I would echo the appeal made by the PSNI to the people of Larne to help track down those responsible for the attack.
“Police officers are as much a part of the community they serve and it is time the community rallied round to end this type of terror.
“My thoughts are with the officer and his family and they should know that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation that has commenced.”
Justice Minister Naomi Long spoke out against those responsible for the attack.
The Minister said: “This is an appalling and cowardly attack on a PSNI officer, at their home, where they should be safe.
“I don’t underestimate the distress that is caused by an incident of this nature at a family home.
“Our police officers put their lives on the line on a daily basis to keep us all safe. My thoughts are with this officer, their family and colleagues.
“This violence achieves absolutely nothing and needs to stop.
“I would encourage anyone with information about this intolerable incident to contact PSNI or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111,” she added.
Northern Ireland Policing Board Chair, Doug Garrett, said the incident must have been “terrifying” for the officer and his family.
“The attack at this officer’s family home and the torching of cars under the shadow of darkness is absolutely reprehensible.
“To be awoken to find this destruction in the middle of the night must have been terrifying for the whole family and thoughts are with them all.
“This incident could have had deadly consequences and I urge anyone with information about it to report it to the police,” he urged.
East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart expressed his disgust at the attack.
“This sadly is not the first time that arsonists have targeted cars at residential properties in the Larne area, but the fact that the house outside which these vehicles were parked belongs to a serving police officer, makes this a particularly sinister incident.
“I will repeat what I have always said when cars have been burnt out in the past; the gangsters responsible for this have no support in the community and the people of Larne want nothing to do with this type of activity.
“It is time for the police - and especially the judiciary - to come down hard on whoever is behind this and put these criminals behind bars for a very long time,” said Mr Stewart.
East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said he had been “appalled” to hear of the “shocking” incident.
“PSNI officers work of behalf of everyone, and have my full support,” he said.
Social Democratic and Labour Party Policing Board member Dolores Kelly MLA condemned those behind the attack.
Dolores Kelly said that the officer and his family had been put through a “horrendous ordeal” and called for anyone with information to come forward to police.
She said; “Those behind this attack on the home of a serving police officer are criminal thugs who have nothing to offer our communities and must be brought to justice. The officer and his family have been put through a horrendous ordeal as three cars were set alight in their driveway in the early hours of the morning. It must have been deeply distressing for them all.
“We are long past time when these organised criminal gangs can operate with impunity in any of our communities. Those who have involved themselves in extortion, racketeering and criminality are a poison on the lives of us all and it should be our mission to flush them out.
“I would encourage anyone with information about this attack to come forward to police and help bring these gangs down.”
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said those responsible “have nothing to offer society”.
“This attack on vehicles belonging to a PSNI officer in Larne was wrong and I condemn it.
“Thankfully no one was injured in this incident but it must have been a frightening experience for the officer and their family and those in the vicinity.
“In recent months there has been increasingly violent rhetoric targeting the PSNI and police officers with sinister posters and graffiti appearing in loyalist areas across the north.
“We have also had leaders from within political unionism undermining support for the PSNI and questioning the rule of law.
“Those responsible for this and other attacks on the PSNI have nothing to offer society. These loyalist paramilitary gangs need to pack up and go away once and for all.”