Fire at Belfast shop treated as 'racially-motivated hate crime'

Fire at Belfast shop treated as 'racially-motivated hate crime'

A FIRE at a shop in Belfast is being treated as a racially-motivated hate crime by police.

Emergency services were called to the commercial premises in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast at around 3.35am on Friday.

No one was injured in the blaze, however significant damage was caused to the property.

Belfast Live reports that the owner, who is originally from Sudan, had seen his business suffer a series of attacks since relocating to the site in April.

In a statement, police said they want to trace two men seen in the area shortly before the fire.

"We are treating this as a racially-motivated hate crime," said Superintendent Finola Dornan.

"Thankfully, no one was injured but significant damage and disruption has been caused.

"As part of our ongoing enquiries, we are keen to speak to two males who were seen in the area before this incident.

"They were described as wearing all black clothing and were travelling on foot in the direction of Schomberg Park."

Anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have camera footage, is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference 198 of August 18.