A number of houses in east Belfast have been the target of criminal damage, which police are treating as a hate crime.

One was defaced with xenophobic graffiti while 15 windows were broken across the other dwellings in the Woodlee Court area of the city, off the Beersbridge Road.

Alliance's David Armitage has hit out at those responsible.

The East Belfast councillor said, “There is no justification whatsoever for this vandalism or similar incidents we have seen nearby in previous months.

"We can have no tolerance in our society for such blatant racist views.”

The incident is believed to have taken place just before midnight on Friday 4 May, and police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

The buildings are currently under construction and unoccupied.