Northern Ireland

New Lodge: Police investigate criminality in north Belfast

Burnt out car in the New Lodge

Police are investigating a number of incidents in the New Lodge area of north Belfast overnight.

There was a break-in at a house in which an elderly woman with dementia lived, and three cars were set on fire.

Brian Quinn, whose 90-year-old mother was in bed when an intruder entered, said anti-social behaviour in the area is "out of control".

"It was bedlam here this morning," Mr Quinn told BBC News NI.

"I stay in the house at night, because of her condition, in case she wanders off in the night, but now it's become about her security problem, in case someone breaks in."

Image caption Brian Quinn said someone broke into his house

Mr Quinn praised the police but said perpetrators needed tougher sentences.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) appealed for information following a report of a burglary at a house at Carlisle Square at about 03:30 BST.

The suspect is reported to have been aged in his 20s, of thin build and wearing a baseball cap and dark coat with orange lining.

Police said that at about 04:30 BST, a Peugeot 206 car was set alight at Victoria Parade.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene, but the car was destroyed.

While carrying out further enquiries, police said an Audi Q2 and Volkswagen Tiguan had both been destroyed following suspected deliberate fires at Carlisle Terrace.

A man matching the description of the earlier burglary was also reported to have been in these areas at the time of the arson attacks, the PSNI added.

Image caption Councillor JJ Magee said it was "pure criminality"

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee said the community is "suffering at the hands of these criminals".

"This community is about good neighbours, like Brian has, and it's about them sticking together and standing together to stop these people."

"This is pure criminality and I would urge this community to stay strong and not let these people beat them and to work together. Without us working together, we won't solve this issue."

On Monday, hundreds of people attended a protest in the New Lodge area.

They were protesting against anti-social behaviour and disorder around an "anti-internment" bonfire last week.