Video: Arson attack at Thornleigh

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Police are investigating an arson attack at the rear of a property at Thornleigh in the Shankill estate.

Joe McAvoy and his paralysed mother Margaret were in the house at the time and had a lucky escape.

Joe NcAvoy surveys the damage with dog Minty.

Joe NcAvoy surveys the damage with dog Minty.

A police spokesman said: “During the early hours of Friday, 19 September, a mattress was set alight in an alleyway to the rear of Thornleigh.

“The fire spread to the back fence and oil tank of a nearby property and it is only through sheer luck that no one was hurt, injured or worse.

“This incident has left the owner of the property extremely shaken and we want to find those responsible.”

The spokesman went on: “We have conducted house to house enquiries, however, we would like to hear from anyone who noticed any activity around the alleyway during the early hours of Friday.

“We know that this alley attracts some antisocial behaviour and we want to address this but we can only target our resources when you make us aware that there is a problem. We have worked hard in the past to encourage reporting in the area but we still believe that the local community are reluctant to contact us.

“Please help us to tackle this crime - phone us! If you are aware of antisocial behaviour or criminal activity or even suspect that something untoward is going on, please pick up the phone and call us on 101 so that we can check things out. If we work together we can prevent incidents like this and make sure everyone stays safe.”

For more on this, including full interviews with Joe and Margaret McAvoy, see our print edition out on Wednesday evening.