Shantallow thefts spark car crime unit appeal

Derry's top cop has been urged to set up a special car crime unit following a joyriding spree in Shantallow.

Acting Area Commander, Chief Inspector Jon Burrows met yesterday with Shantallow Councillor Shaun Gallagher after a Lexus was stolen and burned out the latest in a serious of joyriding incidents in the area.

Colr Gallagher appealed to Acting Chief Insp Burrows to adopt a zero tolerance approach to car crime in the city. He said: "I have been speaking to one of the victims, who owned a Lexus worth 25,000 which was burnt out If these people were going into a bank and stealing that amount of money there would be a special unit set up to hunt them down and ensure they are locked up."

"Car crime seems to have become accepted as anti social behaviour - this attitude must change."

Colr Gallagher said: "I utterly condemn those responsible for these car thefts at the weekend.

"I have been speaking to one of the victims, who owned a Lexus worth 25,000 which was burnt out. If these people were going into a bank and stealing that amount of money there would be a special unit set up to hunt them down."

The Lexus 220 was found burned out in the Ardnamoyle Park area on Saturday morning. A silver Renault Megane, which was stolen from Sandale Park, was found burned out in the Bloomfield Park area around 2.30am on Saturday.

A silver Hyundai Accent, stolen from Glendale Park, was found on fire in the Brookdale Park area on Sunday morning. The keys to the vehicles were taken during creeper burglaries.

In other incidents in the area, a laptop, mobile phone and purse were taken from a house in Fernabbey and the radios taken from two cars in Glendale Park. The outer pane of a window of a house on Ferndale Road was discovered broken on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Gallagher appealed to householders in the Greater Shantallow area to ensure their properties are adequately secured. "It is vitally important that people secure their property. It is all about vigilance and people looking out for their neighbours, because these perpetrators were disturbed three or four times in the last week.

"I am absolutely adamant we will catch those responsible, and I would urge anyone in the Shantallow area with information regarding these car thefts to contact the PSNI immediately."

Detectives in Foyle are appealing for anyone with information on the incidents to call CID on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111.