POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a store in Belfast was set alight when a teenage boy threw a lit firework into the building.
The incident, which happened last night, took place at a shop in the Stewartstown Road area, the PSNI have confirmed.
Sergeant Hakin said: “Around 9.15pm, a fire was reported at retail premises in the Stewartstown Road area.
“Officers attended, along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, who extinguished the blaze.”
He added: “At this time, it has been reported that a teenage boy threw a lit firework into the premises which ignited under the till, causing damage to stock and electrical equipment.
“Thankfully, none of the staff who were present reported any serious injuries, however, they have been left badly shaken.”
Later that evening a second fireworks attack was reported in the same area, when a lit firework was thrown into a bus.
“A short time later, a report was received that a lit firework was thrown in through the door of a Glider bus in the Stewartstown Road area,” Serg Hakin confirmed.
“Enquiries remain ongoing to establish the extent of any damage caused or injuries sustained as a result of this reckless act,” he added.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have dashcam, CCTV or other footage, to contact us on 101, quoting reference 1749 of 18/9/23.”
Segt Harkin went on to highlight the dangers of misusing fireworks and the fines attached for those who are convicted of such offences.
“This type of activity needs to stop and people need to understand that fireworks are made from explosive material and, if misused, can cause serious and life-changing injuries,” he said.
“The law is also very clear regarding the use of fireworks – it is illegal to possess, sell, handle or use them if you do not hold a valid licence to do so. If you are found breaking the law, you could be fined up to £5,000.
“I would appeal to those involved in this activity to consider for a moment the community they are affecting by their behaviour, and refrain immediately from doing so.”
He has also called on parents to act to prevent their children from misusing fireworks.
“People have a right to live in peace and to feel safe where they live. Those who choose to engage in anti-social and disorderly behaviour are only hurting their own communities, neighbours and friends,” he said.
“We ask parents and guardians to also speak to their young people and to know where they are to prevent them from engaging in behaviour which could result in injury or a criminal record.”