Northern Ireland

West Belfast pellet gun attack on boy 'sectarian'

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Media captionJamie Bickerstaff was attacked by a number of youths after visiting friends

Police are treating an attack on a 16-year-old boy in which he was shot with a pellet gun as a sectarian hate crime.

It happened on Wednesday night at the site of the former Mackies factory in west Belfast.

Jamie Bickerstaff was also beaten and kicked before being shot a number of times in the body with the pellet gun.

He was attacked by a number of youths while making his way home to the Woodvale area after visiting Catholic friends in the Lagmore estate.

Jamie was walking through the Mackies site because the security gates at Lanark Away and Workman Ave were closed.

He was approached by a number of youths who asked him where he was from .

They assaulted him after he told them. One of the attackers then pulled a mask over his face, took out the pellet gun and shot Jamie in the upper body.

It is understood police will be reviewing CCTV footage in an attempt to identify the attackers.

Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson said he was "shocked and outraged" by the attack.

"It is utterly depressing that sectarian attacks are still taking place," he said.