Northern Ireland

Dissidents blamed for trouble in Craigavon and Lurgan

Burnt-out lorry in Craigavon
Image caption A lorry was hijacked and burned out in Craigavon

Sinn Fein has said recent trouble in Craigavon and Lurgan is an attempt by dissident republicans to raise tensions in the area.

A lorry was set alight close to Brownlow College on the Tullygally Road in Craigavon on Thursday.

Earlier, a van was hijacked at gunpoint by two masked men, also in the Tullygally area and set alight.

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd said dissident republicans had tried "to cause fear and intimidation".

Thursday's violence followed trouble in Lurgan on Wednesday night when a van and a car were burnt out during disturbances in the Lake Street area.

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly had said that trouble flared after the visit of a delegation including the justice minister, police, the community safety partnership and local councillors to discuss anti-social behaviour in the area.

Mr O'Dowd said he thought the arrest of Republican Sinn Fein president Des Dalton on Wednesday had been used as an "opportunity by some people to either destroy vehicles or be vindictive against a number of people".

However, he said that police were following a number of lines of inquiry regarding the vehicle attacks.

Ms Kelly said the trouble was caused by a small group "who are just a scourge on the local community".

A 24-year-old man and a woman in her 20s were arrested in connection with disorderly behaviour following the disruption on Wednesday.

The main Belfast to Dublin railway line through Lurgan was closed for a period because of the trouble.

Ms Kelly said the area around Lake Street was "a magnet for anti-social behaviour".

"People are tormented around that area, they are just fed up," she said.

"This very small group of people are just a scourge on the local community. They need to be apprehended and brought before the courts."

She said that reports of shots on Wednesday had been particularly worrying.

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