Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 14:24 UK

Attack had dissident 'hallmarks'

The family were forced to flee their home in Strabane

A family of seven have been forced to flee their home in Strabane, County Tyrone, after masked men broke in and threatened them, police have said.

Police said a large number of men forced their way into the home just after midnight on Monday.

They were carrying a number of weapons, including hurley sticks and bats and possibly a handgun. The Springhill Park home was badly damaged in the attack.

Sinn Fein Councillor Danny Breslin said it had the "hallmark of dissidents".

"This family was having a dispute with another family, rows over children. I think that's where the whole thing escalated from," he said.

"It was a heavy-handed approach, doors kicked in, windows smashed. It does look like dissidents."

Local residents said anti-social behaviour was a growing problem in the area.

Earlier this month a ice-cream van was set alight as children queued at it.

A neighbourhood watch scheme was set up recently, but Jacqueline Gallagher from the group said other agencies have a role to play.

"The Housing Executive are in charge of allocations and at the end of the day the community have to live with these allocations," she said.

"You have people here 30 years and there are people going in beside them that party all night, every night. That sort of thing has to stop and the Housing Executive have to be more responsible for their allocations"

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

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