Sandy Row: Man arrested in relation to Belfast hate incidents

The Police Service of Northern Ireland crest
The Police Service of Northern Ireland crest

A man has been arrested after a number of racially motivated hate incidents against a businesses owner in south Belfast, police have said.

The 56-year-old was detained on Saturday and remains in police custody.

He was arrested on suspicion of arson, threats to damage property, harassment and intimidation and a threat to kill.

It follows two arson attacks on 10 April and 11 April, in which the shutters of a shop in the Sandy Row area were set alight.

Supt Finola Dornan said the arrest comes after "months of investigation and officers following up on a number of lines of enquiry".

"We hope this arrest highlights how seriously we take reports of race-related hate crimes and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice and supporting victims," she continued.

"Hate crime hurts communities on many levels. Racially motivated hate crime continues to be a priority issue for local police in south Belfast."

The arrest follows a wave of racially motivated attacks which prompted a rally in Belfast city centre in September.

Supt Dornan said the Police Service of Northern Ireland is "working closely with the local community and partner agencies" as they tackle issues which underline hate crime and "try to find sustainable solutions".

"I would appeal to anyone who has any information whatsoever on any recent hate crimes to provide this directly to police," she added.