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Coach owner 'disgusted' as vehicle used by people with disabilities is torched in Omagh

By Donna Deeney

Published 22/12/2015

The owner of a coach used by adults and children with learning disabilities has described an arson attack on the vehicle as
The owner of a coach used by adults and children with learning disabilities has described an arson attack on the vehicle as "sickening"

The owner of a coach used by adults and children with learning disabilities has described an arson attack on the vehicle as "sickening".

Arsonists caused thousands of pounds of damage and reduced the specially adapted coach to a charred shell.

The fire was discovered in the early hours of last Monday outside the driver's home, but when the fire service and police were called the vehicle was already well alight.

A forensic examination of the bus carried out by the PSNI has now found it was set on fire deliberately.

Sandy Arthur, who owns the Limavady-based coach hire company, said those responsible for the attack would have known instantly the bus was used by disabled people.

He added: "You have to wonder what calibre of a person would be out at 1am on a Monday morning with flammable liquid with them.

"We have now been able to check the tracker on the bus which shows someone tried to wire it, so obviously whoever did this intended to steal the bus as well, probably drive it around and then set fire to it.

"The driver had an early start on the Monday and had taken the bus home with him to Omagh so the fire was out by the time I saw it, but it was sickening to look at."

He added: "It isn't just the inconvenience and financial loss to me, this bus means a lot to the people who used it.

"It is used to take people with learning disabilities to an adult training centre which allows them to essentially go to their work every day and gives the families some respite at the same time.

"Thankfully we have been able to get a replacement for the coach but I was very touched by a number of other coach hire businesses who offered their wheelchair access coaches to me in the meantime."

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