Elected representatives have expressed disgust in the wake of an armed robbery in Carnmoney and resulting security alert in New Mossley.
Armed and masked men robbed a van from a home in the Wynnland Park area of Carnmoney at approximately 8pm on Tuesday, February 21.
The vehicle was found abandoned a short time later in the Ballyvessy Park area of New Mossley.
The area around the van was cordoned off and a number of homes evacuated whilst police and ATO examined the van to ensure the safety of local residents. The van was removed from the scene and residents allowed back to their homes.
Condemning those responsible, Ald Mark Cosgrove said: “I have known the victim of this shocking incident for years and he is a hardworking man trying to earn a living and bring up his family in peace and quiet.
“Having done a day’s work and be sitting at home with your family and to have armed and masked men enter your house and demand the keys to your work vehicle by which you earn your living and with young children asleep upstairs simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
“Someone, somewhere know who these criminals and gangsters are and the sooner they are taken off the streets to stop them from terrorising other families the better.”
The UUP representative added: “Local people in New Mossley then had the further inconvenience of being taken from their homes for safe keeping whilst the stolen van was fully investigated by the authorities.
“I would also like to pay a personal tribute to the officers of the PSNI and the Army who were called to the stolen van for the very professional way they dealt with the whole incident in keeping our community safe.
“Compare that to the actions of the armed and masked men that perpetrated this on our local community who clearly don’t care about anyone. I would urge anyone who can assist the PSNI in apprehending those responsible to contact them straight away.”
East Antrim Assembly election candidate, Cllr Stephen Ross was at the scene of the incident. The DUP representative said: “I am disgusted at the actions of individuals who deemed it acceptable to rob a young family-man at gunpoint of his works van in Carnmoney, then abandoning it at the back of pensioners’ bungalows in New Mossley.
“Police were concerned that there may be something suspicious in the back of the van, forcing them to evacuate the pensioners and other families out of their houses at 11pm.
“Thankfully nothing was found and the van was removed for forensic examination. When I left at 1am, residents were being allowed to return to their homes.”
Commenting on the incident, Sergeant Arnie O’Neill said: “I would ask anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area of Wynnland Park or Ballyvessy Park on Tuesday evening to contact detectives at Newtownabbey Police Station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1176 of 21/02/17. Or, alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”