Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Machinery at cemetery is wrecked by vandal

Vandals have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to machinery being used to extend Derry City Cemetery.

Workers were greeted with a wrecking spree as they returned to the site after the weekend.

Newtonstewart Construction is carrying out work along the lower Londonderry cemetery boundary to create up to 1,100 more plots for graves.

Speaking at the scene yesterday, a spokesman for the building firm said that two diggers had been damaged.

“When I arrived I saw one of the diggers had part of it ripped off and bricks had been thrown through the windows. The damage is costing around £2,000.

“This isn’t the first time there has been something like this. We had two panes of glass broken a few months ago.

“We cannot afford to be throwing away £2,000 every now and again.”

He said that young people had also been accessing the construction site and stealing pallets for bonfires, even busting open bales of bricks to get at the pallets beneath them.

The spokesman called for local parents to make sure their children are not involved in the anti-social behaviour.

Sinn Fein councillor for the area Patricia Logue slammed those responsible.

She said: “This has been a massive building project and it is hoped the work there can be completed over the next few months.

“There is absolutely no excuse for this wanton act of vandalism in our City Cemetery.

“There are bigger questions as a society to ask, such as why people think it’s OK to climb into the confines of the cemetery, which is consecrated ground, and go on a wrecking spree.I would appeal for anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward.”

Derry City Council officers were working with the contractors “to ensure the damage is minimised” a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Police said the vandalism took place between 3pm on Sunday and 7.30am on Monday.

A spokeswoman appealed for anyone who noticed suspicious activity on Sunday night to contact Strand Road Police station on 0845 600 8000.

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