Tour bus firm hit by 'arson attack'

Published Monday, 03 June 2013
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Three vehicles owned by a Belfast tour bus company have been destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

Tour bus firm hit by 'arson attack'
The buses were completely gutted by fire. (© UTV)

A Daimler bus, an LVD Convoy and a Taylor transport trailer - with a combined value of almost £45,000 - were completely gutted in the blaze, which broke out at a haulage yard in the Carnanee Road area of Ballyclare at around 11pm on Sunday.

Ben Allen of Allen's Tours says his business is being targeted.

It comes after another bus carrying five tourists had its windows smashed by stone throwers as it passed through the Springfield Road area of west Belfast last week.

"We just have to apologise to the tourists and try to make light of it," said Mr Allen.

Both buses are completely wrecked. There are just the metal frames of the seats left. They are going to have to be scrapped.

Ben Allen

"It's going to get to the stage where someone is going to be injured. Also, it is going to put people off coming to Belfast if they hear about something like that."

There have been allegations that social media sites have been used to organise attacks after passengers on board an Allen's Tours bus waved Union flags while passing Belfast City Hall, following a vote to reduce the number of days the flag is flown.

DUP MLA for north Belfast William Humphrey said: "It is utterly appalling and outrageous that a legitimate company, its personnel and its property should be targeted in this way.

"These attacks represent sectarian and political fascism. Those responsible must be condemned by all right-thinking people and all political parties.

"The PSNI must investigate all aspects of this criminal campaign thoroughly, including the threatening comments made on social media."

Police confirmed arson is one line of inquiry into Sunday's incident.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Smokey Joe in Belfast wrote (445 days ago):
William Humphrey is very quick to point the finger at the usual suspects - i.e. republicans of some ilk. This incident took place on a quiet back-road in a overwhelmingly unionist rural area. Mr Humphrey shood take his evidence to the police - assuming he has any.
Antaine in Belfast wrote (446 days ago):
Should have read the article through before posting :-)
Antaine in Belfast wrote (446 days ago):
While I cannot and do not condone the wanton destruction of property by anyone, I believe this may have been due to the fact that an Allen bus full of foul-mouthed union flag protesters (making sure everyone heard them) was filmed parading through the streets of Belfast recently and shown on Facebook. It obviously annoyed some people...
Belfast in Belfast wrote (446 days ago):
Whats going to happen when the ones on the shankill and east belfast target tour buses the are owned by ones in the west or black taxis that are in the shankill estate every day of the week. Or are they going to devide the tours up now. This needs to be stopped right away or it will end up with a lot of people with out taxis or buses and out of work. I think the DOE should stop all tours buses working on till this has been sorted for the safety of anyone useing them.
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