A PIZZA shop in Belfast was destroyed this morning after robbers rammed a car into the building, robbed the premises and then set it on fire.
The attack on Pizza Guyz in Anderstown Road, west Belfast happened at around 5am.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service were called to extinguish the blaze and PSNI officers also attended the scene.
Sergeant Smyth said: “Officers on patrol in the area at 5am saw a vehicle and part of a shop front in flames.
“Our colleagues from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the blaze.
“At this stage, it appears that the vehicle was driven at the shop and the fire started deliberately, causing extensive damage,” he added.
Today the owner of the takeaway business, Ciaran Kelly described the attack as “devastating”.
“It’s devastating for our staff and the community,” he told the BBC.
The business sustained serious damage in the attack, which is unable to operate for the foreseeable.
Some 14 staff are employed at the shop, with further members of the team employed as drivers.
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has strongly condemned the attack.
Speaking after meeting with owner Mr Kelly and visiting the premises, the West Belfast MP said: “Last night’s car ramming, robbery and arson attack on Pizza Guyz’ premises was absolutely deplorable and my immediate thoughts are with owner Ciaran Kelly and all the staff affected.”
He added: “Pizza Guyz employs many local people and is a highly respected business right across our community, with Ciaran supporting many community initiatives and events.
“Attacks like this could end in death or serious injury, and it’s lucky no one was physically hurt here.
“I totally condemn this vile behaviour and would encourage anyone with information to immediately bring it forward to the police.”
The PSNI have appealed for anyone with information relating to the attack to come forward.
Sgt Smyth said: “Our investigation is underway and anyone with any information, who may have been in the area at the time the incident took place, is asked to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 140 of 09/01/24.
“We are particularly interested in speaking to those who may have dashcam or other footage.
“If you would prefer to provide information without giving your details you can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”