The house at Rossdowney Gardens which was attacked on Saturday night.  (0305jB91)
The house at Rossdowney Gardens which was attacked on Saturday night. (0305jB91)

A Waterside family have been forced to flee their home following an apparent sectarian attack carried out by a group of eight men armed with hammers.

The incident happened at around 3.40am on Sunday morning when the gang attacked the house in the Rossdowney area.

It is believed a number of masked men carrying bricks appeared outside the house and shouted ‘out’ to the occupants, a family who have lived in the area for 21 years.

The gang then returned ten minutes later, armed with hammers, and broke the downstairs window of the house and the windows of two cars parked outside.

The family are said to have been extremely traumatised by the incident and have vowed to leave the area. They were in temporary accommodation last night.

Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson visited the family on Sunday and said she was “shocked” by the damage. She said a five-year-old child was in the house when the attack took place.

“The place was ransacked. I couldn’t believe the damage. The windows had been smashed in the house and the cars outside.

“This family, who have lived happily in the area for many years, are now planning to move out. It is terrible in this day and age that people are being forced out of their homes. It is unacceptable,” she said.

A PSNI spokesperson said a sectarian motive is one line of inquiry in the investigation.

“Detectives in Strand Road are appealing for information following an incident of criminal damage and intimidation in the Rossdowney Park area of Derry in the early hours of Sunday 1 May.

“At approximately 3.40am it is believed that approximately eight males damaged the house windows and two cars of a residence in the area. Three males carrying hammers then entered the house and threatened the occupants before leaving again.

“The three males that entered the house are all described as of being of medium to heavy build and all are thought to be in their mid-twenties.

“One was wearing a checked shirt while it is believed another was wearing a red-hooded top,” she said.

The police have asked anyone with information on the incident to contact them on 0845 600 800 or via ‘Crimestoppers’ on 0800 5555 111.