Belfast Telegraph

Stolen tanker rammed into business

A stolen oil tanker was rammed into a business that was once part of the Quinn Group and set on fire in what the new owners branded a moronic incident.

Two people are believed to have driven the fuel truck into the headquarters of the Aventas Group, formerly the base for the empire run by one-time billionaire Sean Quinn, in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh.

The tanker broke through security bollards at the site and was reversed three times into the doors of one of the buildings and the cab set on fire.

A third person was believed to have been in a getaway car.

In a statement Aventas, which took over the premises a few months ago, said: "Thankfully no one was injured and the building did not catch fire. The tanker fire was put out by the local fire brigade.

"We are very grateful to the PSNI for their prompt response and to the local fire brigade, especially given the ever-present danger of a tanker explosion.

"Notwithstanding this moronic attempt to disrupt our business, our contingency plans were activated immediately and all our businesses and services are operating as normal this morning."

Aventas claimed the company and some employees have been subjected to a campaign of sabotage, intimidation and vilification.

They claimed that the abuse is orchestrated by a small group of locals angered over how Sean Quinn's business empire fell apart in the wake of financial irregularities at Quinn Insurance and the billions he lost betting on the share price of the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

Liquidators were appointed to the group on behalf of rebranded Anglo, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, in 2011.

"These people have a concerted agenda to undermine and destabilize our business with their own misguided and self-interested agenda in mind," Aventas said.

"Despite the 'concerns' regularly expressed by some of these people, they have no regard for the impact such activities could have on our employees' jobs and on the local economy which is so dependent on our businesses."

A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it was investigating last night's incident.

"At around 11pm it was reported that a fuel tanker had been reversed into the front of the building and the cab set alight," he said.

"The fuel tanker was later reported as stolen from a nearby property in Derrylin.

"NIFRS (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service) personnel attended and extinguished the fire before it could spread to the building."

Officers urged anyone with information to come forward.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Phil Flanagan condemned those responsible.

"This is a despicable act and is not representative of the local community," he said.

"Those behind these actions are not acting out of loyalty to the Quinn family and are not furthering any cause.

"The only result of such activity will be employment opportunities being impacted upon and that is a matter of grave concern for the people of the local community."

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