Couple’s lucky escape in arson attack

ARSON ATTACK... The charred interior of one of the pizza delivery vans set on fire by arsonists in the Bogside in the early hours of Thursday morning. Photo: Charlie McMenamin.
ARSON ATTACK... The charred interior of one of the pizza delivery vans set on fire by arsonists in the Bogside in the early hours of Thursday morning. Photo: Charlie McMenamin.
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A Derry businessman says his elderly parents could have been killed when one of his vans was torched outside their Bogside home yesterday.

Paul McShane’s pizza delivery vehicle was set on fire by arsonists outside the Meenan Square property in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Another delivery van belonging to the local businessman was also set alight at nearby Lisfannon Park.

Both police and fire crews responded to the reports of the fires at around 4.20 a.m. Police say a “hostile crowd” gathered while they were in the area.

It’s the third van belonging to Mr. McShane - who runs Paolo’s Pizzas - to be torched in under a year. Last August, one of his vehicles was burned in the Bogside during disturbances which broke out following the annual Apprentice Boys parade in the city.

He says his parents had a “lucky escape” on Thursday morning.

Mr. McShane says the consequences of the arson attack could have been “drastic”.

“I don’t know whose doing this but they won’t be happy until they put us out of business,” he added.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly described the fire attacks as “scandalous”.

He said: “This wasn’t just an act of vandalism - there was clearly a degree of planning involved in the burning of these vans.”

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the attacks or has any information to contact them at Strand Road on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.