Second attack in 12th week treated as arson and not sectarian

Car yard petrol bombed twice

By Staff Reporter

An auto yard on an interface, which has been continually attacked from the loyalist side of the peaceline, suffered further losses over the Twelfth week, with three cars burnt out by petrol bombs.

The attacks, one over the twelfth weekend and one on the night of the Cliftonville and Celtic match at Solitude, are the latest against JK & Sons Co on the peaceline at the top of Rosapenna Street. The PSNI said the incidents are being treated as arson but declined to comment on any sectarian aspect despite the attacks being launched from the loyalist side of the interface.

One of the owners, John Kelly (33) said the throwing of bricks, bottles and petrol bombs from the Manor Street area had been happening for months.  “We’ve been petrol bombed here on about ten different occasions. They wrecked a load of cars before that, throwing bricks and bottles over, and that was long before any bonfire went up.” According to John that attack, which happened in June, caused around £3,500 worth of damage.

The cars were burnt out on two separate occasions, with one destroyed on Wednesday 17th July, the night of the Cliftonville-Celtic match. Two other cars were destroyed in an attack over the twelfth weekend when the yard was closed. John noted the audacity of those throwing the petrol bombs over the wall.  “Even while the car was up on fire, and myself and the police were here, they were still throwing petrol bombs over.”

In a statement the PSNI said, “Officers responded to a report of a petrol bomb on Wednesday 17 July in the Rosapenna Street area at 10.20pm. A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service crew was tasked.  A car was damaged by fire. Local community representatives liaised with police at the time and assisted by destroying other petrol bombs that were discovered close by.”  They refused to describe the attack as sectarian, saying that it was being investigated as arson.

Commenting on the attack, Sinn Fein Oldpark Councillor Danny Lavery said, “There were certainly petrol bombs being thrown over the interface wall from the unionist side and it was complete madness. Anyone could have been set alight or the homes set on fire and the consequences could have been far more serious. “Some cars were burnt out at the time and local people report this was as a direct result of the petrol bombing. There is also a fuel depot at the top of the road and if it had have gone up then there would have been widespread devastation. “Good work was done by local people to calm the situation and I’m thankful we are only dealing with damage to property and not loss of life. This comes as little comfort for the long-suffering residents and businesses at the interface and to those that lost their cars. Every effort must be made to end interface violence and to defuse tensions over the summer.”

 

By Pádraic Grant

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