A youth center in north Belfast had to cancel planned Halloween activities for young people after an organization-owned minibus was destroyed in an arson attack.
The vehicle was attacked on Sunday evening between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. according to the police.
Firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) attended and contained the blaze, but the vehicle was completely destroyed.
No one was injured as a result of the attack.
In a social media post, a spokesperson for the youth center called the incident a “cowardly attack” and called on officials to give an “explanation” for the incident.
“Our 2 year old minibus, for which we have fundraised so hard as a community, was destroyed in an attack for which we are completely bewildered,” they added.
“The bus was parked at the back of the youth center and the fire caused damage to the primary school and the chapel, so it was really an attack on our community.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt, but that doesn’t take away from the shock and disgust we are feeling this morning.”
They added: “Unfortunately, the activities planned during the Halloween holidays will now have to be canceled. And to those responsible, I would like to hear an explanation of your actions, because there are none.
“We are checking the CCTV and if anyone noticed anything suspicious last night (10/17/2021) between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., please contact us or contact the police.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for NIFRS said: “Firefighters were called to a burning van. They were wearing breathing apparatus and used 2 jets to extinguish the fire. The incident was resolved at 10:24 pm and the cause of the fire would be voluntary ignition. “
PSNI said anyone with information should contact police.
“Anyone who has witnessed this incident or anyone with information can contact the police in Tivent Street on non-emergency number 101, citing reference 1960 10/17/21,” a police spokesperson said.
“Information can also be provided to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and empowers people to speak out and stop crime.”