Family in fear after arson attack in Donaghcloney

A family is in fear of their children’s safety after four vehicles were destroyed in an arson attack in Donaghcloney.

Stephen Crawford revealed how police alerted him to the fire outside his home in Baird Avenue in the early hours of this morning as firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control.

Stephen Crawford at vehicles which were attacked in Donaghcloney

Stephen Crawford at vehicles which were attacked in Donaghcloney

His wife Christine’s car and his work van were destroyed in the attack as were two other vehicles.

Police said: “It was reported that shortly before 1am a fire was started on the wheel arch of a Volkswagen parked on the street. The fire then spreads to three other vehicles parked nearby. All four vehicles sustained significant damage as a result of the fire.”

A very distressed Christine, who is originally from Belfast, said she is at ‘breaking point’ as this is the latest in a number of attacks at the family’s home over recent months.

The couple have three very young children Malachy, aged four, Logan aged three and two-year-old Faith.

In November their home was attacked with a paint bomb and their windows were broken.

Stephen said he is at his wits end trying to protect his young family from harm.

He described the latest attack as a ‘hate crime’ and said it has left him unable to bring his child to school nor go to work.

He said he is worried at leaving his wife and young children at home alone.

His wife Christine said she was very worried at the financial burden this has put on the family.

Visibily upset, she said she was at her wits end and finding it difficult to cope.

DUP Cllr Mark Baxter said: “Just having left the scene of what appears to be a malicious fire in Baird Avenue I’m somewhat shocked as to the level of damage caused in this quiet square opposite the primary school. Residents made me aware of last night’s incident early this morning and are obviously very worried as to the safety of their own personal belongings.

“I’ve spoken to the PSNI Duty Inspector this morning and have articulated the concerns of residents. They are currently investigating what actually has taken place but clearly the fire has destroyed three vehicles and endangered others and does appear to be malicious. This is a very worrying turn of events and I would urge anyone with any information to contact police on 101.

“I will continue to liaise with Police .

Carla Lockhart MLA said: “I would utterly condemn this attack which has lead to significant damage to many vehicles in the area. I have spoken with the PSNI and they are actively investigating this matter.

“This could have had very serious consequences and potential deaths. I would encourage anyone with any information to come forward to the PSNI and report it. It is essential that peace is restored to the are and the residents safety at this point are of paramount importance. I will be working with residents and the PSNI to ensure this matter is investigated.”

Police are investigating an arson attack on a number of vehicles in the Baird Avenue area of Donacloney during the early hours of this morning, Thursday 19 January.

It was reported that shortly before 1am a fire was started on the wheel arch of a Volkswagen parked on the street. The fire then spreads to three other vehicles parked nearby. All four vehicles sustained significant damage as a result of the fire.

Detectives are appealing for anyone witnessed the incident or anyone who has information that can assist with the investigation to contact detectives at Reactive and Organised Crime Branch in Mahon Road Station on 101, quoting reference number 43 of 19/01/17. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.