Arson attacks on the increase in Galliagh

The burnt-out van at Moss Park yesterday morning. 2802JM29

The burnt-out van at Moss Park yesterday morning. 2802JM29

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Community workers in the Moss Park/Galliagh area have called on parents to help stop a spate of arson attacks in the area.

On Wednesday night a van containing tools was destroyed when youths set it alight at approximately 10.30pm. It is believed a stolen wheelie bin was pushed alongside the vehicle before it was set on fire. The van belonged to a Moss Park resident and contained his tools for work. The gentleman did not wish to speak about the attack.

Martin Connolly, chairman of the outer North Community Safety team said: “We are aware that a lot of bins have been stolen and burnt out in recent weeks. We would urge parents in the area to be responsible. These young people are causing mayhem and fear for residents. We need to curb this recent behaviour.

“We are aware of youth workers from Off The Streets being attacked by stones and other missiles when they tried to intervene in similar situations. This has to stop, these bins belong to OAPs and young families who are then forced to replace them at a not insignificant cost to themselves. The fear is these fires could spread to homes or vehicles as they have also been set on busy roads.”

That fear was shared by Sinn Fein Councillor, Elisha McCallion, who stated: “This is an ongoing problem in Moss Park. There have been three vehicles set alight in the last five weeks in the area. People need to find out who is responsible and they need to be stopped before someone is seriously injured.

“Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing. The fear is one of these fires could escalate, the latest fire was close to an oil tank and who knows what would have happened if that had caught light.

“I would urge anyone with any information to contact the PSNI or a local community worker.”