A local councillor said it was only through luck that a tragedy was averted after a second arson attack in a built-up area of Limavady.
Sinn Fein Councillor Brenda Chivers expressed her concern after it emerged a fire at a house in Rathbeg Crescent - which was vacant at the time - was deliberate. The NI Fire & Rescue service said it responded to the blaze, which was in the living room, just before 1am on Friday morning.
Colr. Chivers said after the arson at a house on Sperrin Road last month, the fire on April 7 at Rathbeg Crescent was “a sinister development.”
A public meeting will be held on Wednesday night at 7pm (April 12th) at the Glens Community House to discuss the trouble.
“Whoever is behind these attacks have no regard for life or property. They might think it’s fun, but the consequences could be fatal. This could have ended in tragedy and it’s only through luck no-one was injured,” said Colr. Chivers. “It also means that valuable resources are being tied up. Lives are being put at risk.”
Colr. Chivers said the arsons, coupled with anti-social behaviour in the Glens and Coolessan areas of the town at the weekend, was “worrying.”
“I understood things had calmed down, but it seems things have flared up again. I want to stress it’s not reflective of the good people who live in these areaa who take pride in their homes,” said Colr. Chivers.
One resident from the Glens said they were considering moving out of the area after the weekend trouble.
“It’s awful,” said the resident, who didn’t want to be named.
The resident claimed a group, who they believed were in their late teens, gathered and set fire to rubbish, tried to set a wheelie bin on fire in the middle of the road, damaged property and used abusive language.
“They were running wild. I never slept a wink and these aren’t children. These are teenagers, I think who are aged 16 and older. Right now, it’s not safe,” said the resident. “Enough is enough.”
Colr. Chivers met with local residents and The Glens Community Association on Monday afternoon.
“Only last week, I was involved in meetings and workshops looking at improving the area, occurences like this have locals worried that developments may be stalled or abandoned,” said Colr. Chivers, who added: “This is why I would call on this small group of people involved to cease this recklessness immediately and for anyone with information to bring it to the police.”
It’s also emerged fire crews were called to Coolessan Walk in Limavady on Sunday night at approximately 8.07pm where they dealt with a report of rubbish on fire inside a garage. A NIFRS spokesperson said the fire was started deliberately.
A local community worker in Limavady said an ‘anti social behaviour’ forum - which involves local community groups, the PSNI and statutory agencies - will meet next week and discuss the issues from the weekend.
The PSNI have appealed for information about the Rathbeg Crescent arson and want anyone with information to contact Coleraine Reactive and Organised Crime Branch on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 45 of the 07/04/17.
Police say if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.