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Man charged after 'CIRA' graffiti scrawled around Ballymena town

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A contractor on the clean up operation in Ballymena after the graffiti attack. Presseye

A contractor on the clean up operation in Ballymena after the graffiti attack. Presseye

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Properties around Ballymena were attacked. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Properties around Ballymena were attacked. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

General view of graffiti in Ballymena town centre after the graffiti attack. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of graffiti in Ballymena town centre after the graffiti attack. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

A contractor on the clean up operation in Ballymena after the graffiti attack. Presseye

A man has been charged after sectarian graffiti was daubed on properties around Ballymena town centre.

Police said white paint was daubed onto various properties, including shop fronts and walls in the Sydney Lane, High Street, Albert Place, the court house and premises on Lower Mill Street as well as on two vehicles.

A wall of a Presbyterian church and a doctors' surgery were also vandalised.

Most of the graffiti referenced the Continuity IRA.

On Thursday contractors were called in to hose the markings off.

Police said they were treating the incident as a hate crime as most of the graffiti was of a sectarian nature.

TUV Ballymena councillor Matthew Armstrong and Bannside councillor Timothy Gaston spent the evening with residents in the area after the attack.

In a joint statement, they said: "At a time of national and international crisis the like of which few of us have seen in our lifetime communities are coming together.

"Sadly these actions show that there are still those with absolutely no regard for the rule of law or their neighbours.

“We commend the PSNI for responding to this serious incident and arresting a man at the scene.

"We very much hope that the circumstances in which this attack was carried out will be considered by the courts and that a strong message will be sent that this disgusting behaviour will not be tolerated by society."

They also commended the council for its actions in getting the clean-up arranged.

SDLP Ballymena Councillor Eugene Reid also condemned the incident.

"Much of this graffiti was of a sectarian nature and would have undoubtedly caused distress to families and children in the area,” He said.

“In the most challenging time in a generation, the community of Ballymena has pulled together to fight back against Covid-19. These senseless acts undermine that and are not representative of the local community.”

“I urge anyone with any information to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers.”

Police charged a 25-year-old man with offences, including criminal damage. As in normal procedure all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service. He will appear in court on Saturday, April 11.

Belfast Telegraph