Alderman Frank McCoubrey (right) condemns damage to residents' cars in west Belfast overnight

Alderman Frank McCoubrey (right) condemns damage to residents’ cars in west Belfast overnight

A DUP councillor has appealed for an end to attacks on residents’s cars in west Belfast by what he calls “hate crime bigots”.

Now Frank McCoubrey has called for called for concerted police and community action to end the sectarian attacks.

A number of cars belonging to Protestant residents in the Highfield / West Circular Road area of West Belfast were damaged on Thursday night.

Said Cllr McCoubrey said: “Two cars were damaged in sectarian attacks in the early hours of this morning (Friday, August 9), close to Springfield Road.

“At 2.30am the windscreen of a car belonging to a pensioner in Highcairn Drive was smashed by a large boulder which also dented the bonnet.

“Around the same time the side window of a car parked at the top of West Circular Road was smashed in and the wing mirrors were damaged.

“I have contacted the PSNI to ensure that they attended both crimes scenes this morning.”

Mr McCoubrey said he residents were in no doubt the attacks were sectarian crimes.

“These are part of a pattern of attacks on residents’ cars which have occurred on a regular basis over recent months,” said Cllr McCoubrey.

“On the evening of July 10 at least a dozen cars along West Circular Road were scraped or had windows or wing mirrors broken by republican youths who also shouted sectarian abuse before making their way across Springfield Road into Springfield Industrial Estate.

“Two youths were subsequently arrested by the PSNI and have been charged with these attacks.

“Local community workers Issac Andrews and Gerald Solinas, who liaise with residents regularly, say there is often an increase in attacks at this time of year, linked to the on-going Ardoyne Fleadh and people cutting through the area on their way back to West Belfast.

“The DUP raised these attacks at a recent meeting with the PSNI West Belfast Area Commander, during which attacks on Whiterock Orange Hall were also highlighted.

“We have called for increased patrolling and for the installation of the sort of CCTV cameras which have been successful in reducing attacks at other interface areas in North and West Belfast.

“It is vital that residents report each and every attack to the Police in order to strengthen the case for the introduction of these cameras.”

Mr McCoubrey said he would raising the attacks at the next meeting of the West Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

He added: “There needs to be concerted action from the police and at community level to demonstrate that these attacks are totally unacceptable and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“It is disgraceful in this day and age that people should have to endure sectarian attacks on their homes or property due to the hate crimes of bigots.”

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