Three properties hit in race hate attacks

Anna Blochat her home in Inverary Drive, east Belfast.
Anna Blochat her home in Inverary Drive, east Belfast.

A trio of properties have been targeted in what police are treating as a spate of racist crimes.

Anna Bloch’s home in east Belfast was among those to have been targeted overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

In her case, two brick-sized lumps of concrete were flung at her windows in Inverary Drive, Sydenham; a strongly loyalist area.

“It was midnight, maybe three minutes before or after,” said the 26-year-old, who is now one of three members of her family whose homes have suffered such an attack.

“Something smashed. I thought something in my mum’s room had maybe fallen and crashed.”

Her stepfather, however, realised the house was under attack, and heard the sound of two men running away towards the Holywood Road.

She pointed out that the lump which crashed through the living room window had landed at the exact spot where her dogs Bajka and Zuzia (also from Poland) usually sleep.

Ms Bloch was in the bedroom at the time of the incident, and luckily neither householders nor pets were injured.

The other chunk of stone broke one layer of double glazing at the side of the house.

“My stepfather was shaking. Very nervous. I just rang for the police,” said Ms Bloch.

She has lived in Belfast for about three years and works at a care home; but also serves at the bar of the Ramada Plaza one or two nights per week, and works as a freelance beautician on some evenings.

Asked why her home may have been targeted, she said: “Maybe because we are from Poland. I think like that because lots of the houses with Polish people were smashed.”

Yesterday morning police also received reports of damage in similar attacks at Sandbrook Park and Victoria Court – one of which is also the home of Ms Bloch’s older brother.

And last week the house where her younger brother lives with his wife and two-year-old son was targeted too.

Ms Bloch said that despite the attack she wants to remain where she is, although her mother is having second thoughts.

Police said that on the night of January 5 three properties were struck in the same manner, and roughly the same area.

These are also being treated as racist crimes.

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said he was “outraged” by the attacks and urged anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

DUP councillor Gavin Robinson said: “‘Two weeks ago the community in Sydenham came together in response to the threat of flooding. That, rather than these disgraceful attacks, is a true reflection of the community in this area.”

To reach police ring 0845 600 8000, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.