Police in south Belfast have arrested a man following a number of race hate related incidents in recent months.

Local Policing lead for south and east Belfast Superintendent Finola Dornan said: "Following a number of months of police investigations into hate crime related incidents against a local business owner in the Sandy Row area, officers arrested a 56-year-old man in south Belfast yesterday, Saturday 11th November.

"The man was arrested on suspicion of two counts of arson, following reports of arson on 10th and 11th April, in which the shutters of a shop were set alight. Officers attended and thankfully there were no reports of any injuries but damage was caused to the building.

"He was also arrested on suspicion of two counts of threats to damage property, one count of threats to kill, harassment and intimidation, following a number of reports between April and November of this year.

"He remains in police custody at this time."

Superintendent Dornan continued: "This arrest follows months of investigation and officers following up on a number of lines of enquiry. We hope this arrest highlights how seriously we take reports of race related hate crimes and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice and supporting victims.

"Hate crime hurts communities on many levels. Racially motivated hate crime continues to be a priority issue for local police in south Belfast. 

"We are working closely with the local community and partner agencies, and we are grateful for their support as we work together to tackle issues which underlie hate crime and to find sustainable solutions.

"I would appeal to anyone who has any information whatsoever on any recent hate crimes to provide this directly to police by telephoning 101 or online at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.  Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”