By Brett Campbell
Residents in Dungannon were evacuated from their homes after a gang of masked men broke into a property and set it on fire on Sunday evening.
The culprits were armed with weapons when they smashed the window and entered an unoccupied house in the Braeside at around 5.20pm.
They fled the scene in a silver Volvo which was burned out on Ranfurly Road - it’s thought they then made off in a black Ford Kuga.
MLA Doug Beattie described a video of the incident circulating on social media as "shocking".
"No matter what it is, no matter who it is, no matter when it was - it is absolutely disgusting and I hope police can take some information from that video," he said.
Two men aged 66 and 47 - and a 16-year-old boy - have been arrested and released on police bail.
The incident may be linked to an altercation which took place on Friday which resulted in two men, aged 22 and 21, being arrested.
Detective Sergeant McGale said; “Shortly after 5:20pm, it was reported to police that a group of masked men armed with weapons approached a house in the area.
"It is believed the men damaged the front window and that an accelerant was poured into the property and set alight.
"No one is believed to have been inside the property during the incident, with extensive damage caused to the living room and extensive smoke damage to the rest of the property.
"A number of adjacent properties also had to be evacuated during the incident, but no injuries were reported.
"The fire was extinguished by Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.
“The males are believed to have left the scene in a silver coloured Volvo which was later found on fire in the Ranfurly Road area of Dungannon. A number of males were seen leaving the scene of the vehicle set alight in a black Ford Kuga.
“Upon arrival of police, two vehicles, a white Mercedes CLA and a silver Seat Ateca attempted to leave the area. The Seat Ateca was prevented from leaving by Police. The driver was arrested and a number of items were removed from the vehicle.
"The Mercedes CLA was later located and a number of items were seized. A man in his 40’s and a 16 year old youth was arrested.
“The three males aged 66, 47 and 16 years old were arrested on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons and other offences. All three were later released on police bail pending further enquiries.
“We are also investigating a link between this incident and an altercation which took place on Friday 8th May in the Braeside area of Dungannon, in which two men aged 22 and 21 years old were arrested and both were released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.
“Enquiries are continuing and we would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the Braeside area on either Friday 8th or Sunday 10th May, to contact detectives on 101 quoting reference number 1411 10/05/20. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”