Vandals who smashed glass panels and stole lifebelts from Derry’s Peace Bridge have been caught on camera, the Journal has learned.
Police are examining the footage which shows thugs smashing two re-enforced glass safety panels Film footage of the bridge’s two lifebelts and ropes being removed is also being investigated.
Ilex has confirmed that the Peace Bridge is “completely covered” by CCTV security cameras, stretching from the Foyle Embankment to Ebrington Barracks.
A spokesperson for Ilex said: “It is important that people using the bridge know that it is covered by CCTV both for their peace of mind and to deter criminal activity.”
The glass panels were broken overnight on Saturday/Sunday while the lifebelts and ropes were removed on Sunday.
Paddy Wilson of Foyle Search and Rescue said the removal of the lifebelts put lives at risk.
“You don’t hear of people going to Altnagelvin hospital and wrecking life support machines which is effectively the same thing as removing lifebelts.”
He said that in the majority of cases drunken yobs are responsible for removing lifebelts and “throwing them into the river for fun”.
He added: “If member of the public goes to help someone in the river and they find there is no lifebelt, then they must watch the person drown - that’s a horrible thing that nobody wants to see.
Ilex confirmed the missing lifebelts on the Peace Bridge were replaced as “matter of urgency”.
The spokesperson said: “The replacement of the lifebelts was a “priority” because of the risk to life but the broken panels have been examined and are safe.”
She added that the special safety panels will be “costly to replace” but will be fixed within the next few weeks.