Northern Ireland

Buses destroyed in suspected arson attack in Belfast

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Media captionTwo buses have been destroyed by fire in Belfast.

Two tourist buses have been destroyed by fire in a suspected arson attack in Belfast city centre.

A fire alarm went off at the Holiday Inn in Hope Street at about 04:20 BST on Saturday and guests were asked to leave the hotel.

As they gathered outside they saw the two buses, parked side-by-side in the car park, engulfed by flames.

One of the tour groups is from Germany, the other from China and Taiwan. It was their first night in Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Many of the tourists who had been using the buses had left personal belongings on board

The driver of one of the buses said many of the passengers had left personal belongings on board and these had been destroyed.

Both groups have organised replacement coaches and will begin their tour of the north coast later than they had planned.

Police have appealed for information about the attack.

Insp David Gibson said: "It appears as though the fire started under one of the buses before spreading to the second.

"While the exact cause is still under investigation, it is thought that the fire was started deliberately."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The incident happened on Saturday morning at Hope Street