More patrols needed to combat the ‘crime lords’

Cllr Paul Michael
Cllr Paul Michael

A call has been made for more visible policing on the ground following a spate of burglaries and a hate crime in the region in recent days.

The call for the increased police presence has been made by chair of Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), Cllr Paul Michael.

The UUP representative made the comments as he condemned a number of incidents which occurred in Newtownabbey over the festive period.

These incidents include a burglary from a property in the Irish Hill Road area of Straid some time between December 23 and December 31.

Items including a range cooker and a bathroom suite were taken during this incident. Police believe that a large vehicle may have been used to transport the stolen items.

Meanwhile, some time between December 22-29, criminal damage was caused to a car owned by an elderly Indian couple in the Twinburn area. Police are treating the incident as a hate crime.

In another incident on New Year’s Eve, a car which was stolen earlier that evening during a creeper style burglary from a home in the Rectory Road area of Ballyclare was used by criminals during an aggravated burglary in Glenarm.

An attempt was also made to steal a second car in a creeper style burglary in the Riverdale Park area of Ballyclare at approximately 10:15pm.

It was also reported that shortly before 2:25am on New Year’s Day, a number of men, one carrying a suspected firearm and one carrying a knife, forced their way into a house in the Burneys Mews area.

The men pointed the firearm at a number of people who were in the house at the time and threatened them. The men then made off from the house.

Condemning the incidents, Cllr Michael said: “Crime lords are seeing Newtownabbey as easy pickings and this demands more police presence on the ground.

“With regards to recent burglaries, there appears to be organisation between these incidents. One incident is one too many.”

He added: “With the closure of Ballyclare Police Station, criminals feel that they can use this as an opportunity.

“The challenge is on the PCSP and the PSNI to fill the vacuum that the closure of Ballyclare Police Station has left.

“The community needs to know that they can sit in their homes without fear of attack or theft.”