Northern Ireland

Six vehicles destroyed in Carrickfergus arson attack

The burnt-out cars in Carrickfergus
Image caption The cars were destroyed in an overnight attack at a garage

Six vehicles have been destroyed in an arson attack at a garage in County Antrim.

It happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning at Dunlop Motors on Woodburn Road in Carrickfergus.

Five cars and a van were set on fire in what the business owner Joe Dunlop described as "intimidation" by the East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a paramilitary group.

His garage was attacked four weeks ago, when six cars were destroyed.

Image caption The attack could result in a loss of thousands of pounds, said the garage owner

Police said the arson was discovered by officers on patrol shortly after 02:00 GMT.

Mr Dunlop told BBC News NI that he would "just have to carry on" in spite of the "intimidation [and] threats".

"Just the same old thing, another six cars burnt, destroyed - why?"

'Not going to hide'

He estimated that his loss would be about £4,000 "plus what I am going to lose in custom".

Image caption Joe Dunlop said he was "not going anywhere" in spite of the "intimidation"

But he said that Carrickfergus was "my town and I'm not going anywhere".

"There is plenty of support for me in the town, I'm just going to stick it out.

"I think people are too afraid to come in but just to reassure them I'll look after them when they are here," said Mr Dunlop.

"How am I going to pay for all this is the question now."

Image caption The incident was the second attack at the garage in the past month

Mr Dunlop said he was "not going to hide under a rock" and was willing to speak out.

"They know who I was last time so I may as well put the face behind the voice - I'm going to get a death threat anyway."

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

"Those responsible have shown no regard for the safety of the local community in carrying out this reckless act," said Insp Michael Simpson.

"Regardless of the motivation their actions are only increasing tensions and causing fear."

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