More patrols needed across East Antrim Coast - Smyth

editorial image

There have been calls for additional police patrols along the East Antrim coastal route in the wake of two robbery incidents at the weekend.

And political representatives have also condemned serious criminal activity in and around Larne in recent days (see front page story).

A man aged 41 and a woman aged 30 were arrested after two robberies in Glenarm and Ballygally on July 23.

Around 10:35am, police received a report that as a man was taking photographs in a carpark on the New Road, Glenarm a masked male, brandishing what is believed to be a firearm, demanded that he hand over the keys to his car, which he did. The man then made off in the vehicle, a red Ford Fiesta Finesse.

Shortly afterwards, police received a report of a robbery at commercial premises in the Coast Road area, Ballygally. A masked man entered the shop and demanded money from staff. No one was injured during either of these incidents, however the man whose car was stolen and staff within the shop were all left very badly shaken.

The stolen car was found abandoned at 11:15am on Dickeystown Road, Glenarm. Detective Sergeant Peter Crothers appealed to anyone with information to contact police on Larne on 101, quoting reference number 498 23/07/17.”

Cllr Angela Smyth (DUP) condemned the incidents and called for police to “step up” their presence in the area. The DUP representative said: “These deplorable acts of criminality have no place in our community. I will be asking police to step up their presence in the area in light of recent events.”

Alliance representative, Ald Gerardine Mulvenna said: “These incidents are shocking. I’m relieved police have made arrests. The staff at the shop should be commended for keeping calm during the traumatic ordeal.”

Referring to the weekend arson and assault in Larne, Sinn Féin’s Oliver McMullan said if such attacks continue it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or worse.

He claimed the attacks were linked to feuding within ‘criminal loyalist gangs’.

“I have spoken to the PSNI and called for additional police patrols in the area to help tackle the ongoing problem of loyalist paramilitarism in Larne.”