Residents who depend on mobile eye checks have been told “their vital service will not be hampered” after vandals destroyed five mobile optician vans in Newtownards over the weekend.
The units, which cater specifically to those who are house bound and were housed at Crepe Weavers Industrial Park, Comber Road, were damaged during the early hours of Saturday, April 30. A quantity of spectacle cases and various optical testing equipment were either removed or strewn over the floor.
William Stockdale, owner of Optimise, the company that specifically caters for the housebound in the south Belfast area, told the Community Telegraph: “The vehicles are completely destroyed. The vans have been stationed here for the last eight years and nothing like this has ever happened before.
“We are just thankful that only a little of the equipment we use for the mobile eye checks has been damaged — otherwise we would have had to wait at least two months to replace it all.
“I really think those that perpetrated this vandalism had no thought of the consequences of their actions.”
Tom Hamilton, UUP council candidate said: “I have never heard of such a wanton act of vandalism to this scale happening in the Newtownards area before.
“I’m also led to believe that there was other equipment in the premises which may have either been removed or damaged. The cost runs to the tens of thousands. It’s an absolute and utter disgrace that this type of theft, vandalism and damage has been carried out on such a valuable community service — especially to those who are confined to their homes.
“If anyone at all has any information on this, I appeal for them to contact the police.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Two young men and a young woman have been captured on CCTV around 3am on Saturday, April 30 and police would like to speak with them to rule them out of their enquiries.
“It believed they made off in the direction of the West Winds. If you saw or heard anything give us a call please and help us to identify those involved.”
Further to the incident police recovered a White Helly Hansen waterproof jacket “left behind by the female involved as she made off”.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at Newtownards on 0845 600 8000. Or, alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.