Man arrested following arson attack


A man arrested following an arson attck in the Greystone estate in Antrim in the early hours of Friday morning has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The 24-year-old was arrested on suspicion of arson after a wheelie bin was set on fire and pushed against the side of a house at around 3am.

The man was questioned by detectives following the arson attack, which might be linked to other criminality in the area, police have said.

Chief Inspector John Allen said: “Police were proactively patrolling the area to keep people safe and attended the scene.

“Police tackled the fire while a Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue team was tasked to the incident. Thankfully, there was no one at home.

“Officers also had to evacuate houses while the fire had taken hold.

“The potential for risk to life was severe and this could have been a much more serious incident.”

The senior officer said the arson attack follows a recent hoax pipe-bomb and petrol bomb incidents and the PSNI is investigating if all of these are linked.

A paramilitary link is not suspected at this stage.

Meanwhile, UUP Councillor Drew Ritchie condemned the hoax pipe bomb attack in the estate.

“To disrupt families, the elderly and the vulnerable in the middle of the night is behaviour that beggars belief, causing people to leave their homes, not knowing how long before they can return shows complete discard for all the people living in the area,” Cllr. Ritchie said.

He added: “I commend the PSNI and Council staff for their quick action in helping make people as safe and comfortable as possible.

“Also the security services for dealing with the device as quickly as possible, allowing people to get back to their homes.

“Anyone with any information regards the incident should contact the local PSNI.”

South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke condemned the ongoing anti-social behaviour in Greystone.

“I am calling on the PSNI and Northern Ireland Housing Executive to do more to tackle anti-social behaviour within the area,” Mr Clarke said.

He added: “Residents of Greystone are feeling vulnerable and isolated; as we are aware there was an escalation of violence in the past and what I really want is this to be nipped in the bud before it escalates again.

“This problem needs to be solved now in order to allow the residents to enjoy their homes and live without fear and anti-social behaviour.

“I would therefore encourage those in the area to cooperate with the PSNI so all the residents’ can get on with their family life and not live in fear.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Antrim on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.