Thursday, 28 February 2013
Terrified residents are living at the mercy of a growing army of anti-social thugs who are 'hell bent on destruction', an irate community leader has claimed.
Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson fears that Antrim has become a 'dumping ground for scumbags' from across Northern Ireland - adding that local people are paying a 'terrible price' for the crimewave that has followed in their wake.
The furious tirade about the town came only hours after news broke of the most recent incident within the Greystone estate which saw another house targeted by arsonists.
The property in Donore Crescent was deliberately set alight during the early hours of Saturday morning (February 23).
There was no-one in the property at the time, however, it is believed that the residents of a nearby house were evacuated for a time while the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze.
This latest attack came only days after three homes within the estate were targeted within the space of an hour. One of these also fell victim to arsonists.
Ulster Unionist Councillor, Adrian Watson said he was 'flabbergasted' in regards to the level of crime and anti-social behaviour within the town.
“There has been a clear rise in attacks and that is something that none of us here within the town want to see," he fumed.
“The good people of Antrim want to see and end to all this and live in peace but here we have these scumbags determined to drag everyone down with them.
“I am sickened by these attacks. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed. The problem is, once someone innocent has been burnt in their bed, it's a little bit too late to see a change."
And the attacks in Greystone appear to be only the tip of a worryingly large iceberg as reports of crime and anti-social behaviour are soaring in other crime hot spots too.
Last week, a family of four narrowly escaped with their lives after arsonists set fire to a boat outside their home in Ballycraigy.
Meanwhile, an elderly gentleman was left living in fear in his own home after teenage thugs terrorised him and barged on into his home before smashing a vodka bottle at his door.
“Nobody wants to live like this," an irate Mr Watson continued. "There is a serious lack of respect for other people and the elderly in particular.
“There are underlying tensions within the town and I would call on the PSNI and any other agencies to work together to protect the law-abiding citizens of Antrim.
“Drugs, crime, anti-social behaviour - there seems to be a black hole within every housing estate and the appropriate agencies must take action to stamp this out."
Mr Watson's comments come after the revelation that the owner of a 'ruinous and dilapidated' dwelling in Rathmore Gardens will face legal proceedings which have been initiated due to the state of the house.
The fire-damaged dwelling is almost concealed by a mountain of rubbish which has left neighbours and other residents at a loss as to what to do.
“Antrim has become a dumping ground," Mr Watson snorted. 'It is the dumping ground of Northern Ireland, plain and simple.
“Families which have been ejected from the area due to anti-social behaviour are suddenly appearing back within the town.
“And it's not necessarily the fault of the Housing Executive either. Private landlords need to take more responsibility for the type of people they are foisting onto neighbours and the town as a whole.
“These people are well-known to everyone, including the police and the justice system and things have got to change.
“They cannot be allowed to drag Antrim down with them."
If you have any information regarding crime within the Borough, contact police on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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