POLICE are treating an assault on a teenager in North Belfast as a 'sectarian motivated hate crime'.

Shane McAlinden (16) was attacked by a group of up to eight people, near the junction of Century Street and Oldpark Road at around 8.35pm last Wednesday (December 29).

He sustained injuries to his head and face and attended hospital for treatment.

Hitting out at the attack, mum, Emma said: "I thought sectarian attacks were a thing of the past but obviously not.

"My son was walking down past the library on the lower Oldpark Road when he was approached by a young male asking where he was from. When they realised he was a Catholic around 20 people ran to attack him.

"I just want everyone to be vigilant and taking extra precautions. Anyone that's ever met my child will know how much of a gentleman he is and he didn't deserve this."

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee described the assault as "disgraceful".

“The attack on this young man was disgraceful. We could be talking about something a lot more serious today and thankfully we aren’t," he said.

“These attacks need to stop now. Together as one community we must come together to help in whatever way we can to encourage young people away from not only this sectarian violence but all violence before someone gets seriously hurt.”

Sergeant Green said: “We are treating this incident as a sectarian motivated hate crime and we are appealing for anyone with information, or who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area at that time, to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 1655 29/12/21.”

A report can also be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form here or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online here.