Northern Ireland

Larne hair salon damaged in fire attack

A car reversed through the metal shutter of the hairdressers Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A car reversed through the metal shutter of Hair by Jakk's salon on Monday evening

A County Antrim hair salon has been extensively damaged in a suspected arson attack.

A grey Nissan Primera was reversed through Hair by Jakk's metal shutters on Larne's Main Street at about 21:00 on Monday.

It is believed a man at the wheel of the car fled on a blue and white motorcycle driven by a second person.

Police are investigating a possible link to eight arson attacks on cars in the town over the weekend.

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Media captionVideo footage shows a car in flames after it was reversed into a hair salon in Larne

"This was a mindless and reckless attack by individuals who have shown no concern for the people of Larne and no respect for the business people trying to make a living in the town," said Det Ch Insp Dunny McCubbin.

The salon had been devastated by the attack, he said, although the motive behind it was unclear.

"A falling out between two individuals may be the catalyst for these incidents," said Mr McCubbin.

But as the investigation was at a very early stage, he said it would not be appropriate to comment further on that line of enquiry.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police are investigating a possible link to eight arson attacks on cars in the town

Two men have been charged in relation to the police's overall investigation into the attacks in Larne.

A 30-year-old man was arrested on Saturday and later charged with grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon.

A 32-year-old man was arrested on Monday and has been charged with common assault and making threats to damage.

The men are due to appear at court in Ballymena next month.

Image caption Police and the fire service attended the scene in Main Street in Larne

The situation in Larne was extremely serious, said Alliance MLA for East Antrim Stewart Dickson, appealing to those responsible for the attacks to stop as each attack increased the risk that someone would get hurt.

"The whole community is living in fear," he said.

"The range of incidents - from cars to town centre premises - cannot be allowed to escalate further and I would urge anyone with information to speak to the police immediately," he told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

Police were already investigating whether arson attacks on two cars in the town in the early hours of Monday were linked to attacks over the weekend; there were similar attacks on vehicles during the early hours of Saturday and Sunday.

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