Northern Ireland

Larne: Shots fired into bedroom as children sleep

House with burnt-out car
Image caption A car was burnt out during the attack in Brustin Brae Road

Three children, aged 10, seven and three, were asleep in a house in County Antrim when shots were fired into their bedroom on Monday morning.

The gun attack took place at a detached house in Brustin Brae Road, Larne. Shots were also fired into the hallway. No one was injured.

A car was also set alight and destroyed in the attack.

Police have linked the attack to an ongoing feud, and said there would be an increased PSNI presence in Larne.

Image caption Aislinn Hassin said she was considering moving house

The children's mother, Aislinn Hassin, told the BBC she blamed paramilitaries who were trying to harm her ex-husband, whose mother owns the property.

"It has to stop. They've taken a disliking to him. Somebody needs to help and sort this, and we've been to loads of people to try to get it sorted," she said.

"The PSNI know who it is and there's nothing being done," Ms Hassin added. "The PSNI aren't helping but maybe this might give them a shock."

She said she was now considering moving house.

Supt Darrin Jones said: "The local community will continue to see an increased police presence in the town to provide reassurance and deter those involved in this feud from engaging in further criminal actions.

Image caption A number of bullets struck the house

"I would strongly urge those on all sides to reconsider their position and to resolve these matters without any added escalation in violence. We do not want to see more damage caused to property or life."

Police said they were investigating reports that two masked men, armed with suspected shotguns hijacked a Volkswagen Bora in the Craigyhill area at about 02:00 BST, after threatening the two occupants.

'Set alight'

Image caption The car was left a burnt-out wreck

They believe the vehicle was driven to a property in the Brustin Brae Road where it was set alight outside a garage. They also received a report that shots were fired at the property.

Image caption Bullet strikes on a window in the house

East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said the continuous attacks were causing were causing "untold reputational damage" to Larne.

"I intend to meet with the PSNI in the coming period to discuss this ongoing spate of attacks and impress upon them the need to bring this madness to an end," he said.

The UUP's Roy Beggs called for increased police patrolling to bring the situation under control.

"With the ongoing gang feud there appears to be an increasing risk that members of the public could get caught up in it," Mr Beggs said.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson called on people to assist the police.

"It is extremely worrying to hear this news today and we must be thankful that this incident did not end in a complete tragedy for this young family," he said.

In a separate incident, a house was badly damaged and two cars destroyed in an arson attack in Larne in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Firefighters put out the blaze at the house in Magee Park.

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