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Armagh auction house could close in wake of St Patrick's Day vandalism

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CCTV images taken outside Armagh City Auctions on St Patrick’s Day

CCTV images taken outside Armagh City Auctions on St Patrick’s Day

The scene of the vandalism at the site

The scene of the vandalism at the site

CCTV images taken outside Armagh City Auctions on St Patrick’s Day

The owner of an auction house in Armagh has said he fears going out of business after drunken vandals targeted his property on St Patrick's Day.

Barry Boylan (38) started Armagh City Auctions just five months ago and posted pictures of the damage online.

Around 30 individuals had gathered in the Nursery Road area to drink on Tuesday when several cupboards meant to be sold at auction were smashed.

Already facing a drop in business over the coronavirus restrictions, Mr Boylan will now have to pay for the damage out of his own pocket.

"There's quite a bit of damage outside and they managed to get inside the auction house as well," he said.

"They're silly people because there's cameras here and I know half of them to see. I'm still doing a stock take but there does seem to be some items missing.

"Because it was St Patrick's Day and they had nowhere else to go, they ended up just drinking and wrecking the place."

Mr Boylan said he also faced intimidation when he arrived at the auction house on Tuesday.

"I'm only one man and there were at least 30 people there when I got there," he said.

"Two of them got very righteous and called me a tout for contacting the police.

"Another young lad calmed them down. Apparently this happens quite a lot in the area but it's the first time for me as the business has only been going five months.

"They just don't care. When I closed the gate behind me one young lad walked past me and (instead of apologising) just said he forgot his carry out.

"That's the type of people they are, they're dangerous when they get into a group."

Addressing those responsible, he said: "Why would you do this? I'm a local fella just trying to make a living.

"Don't get me wrong. Everyone was young once, you don't mind them having a drink as long as they don't make a mess.

"But because I've other people's stuff here it's just a nightmare. Apparently it's why the last tenant left here because every weekend there's people congregating and drinking."

Reviewing the CCTV footage, Mr Boylan said some of those loitering were urinating on walls and doors, and that a wing mirror had been broken off a van.

"It's hard enough to make a living especially in the current climate," he said.

"I have to pay that money out to customers, that's my job, I have to sell their goods. It's going to have a knock-on effect as well with people not bringing their items here because they think it's not safe."

The PSNI said they are appealing for witnesses and information following a number of reports of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour in the Nursery Road area of Armagh on Tuesday. "It was reported that sometime between 8pm and 9pm, a group of approximately 30 individuals had been behaving in an anti-social manner in the area causing damage to several cupboards which were being stored outside. We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area and who saw the group," said a spokesperson.

Police can be contacted at Armagh Police Station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1119 for March 17.

Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph