‘Sheer and utter scumbags’

The van that was torched at Kavanagh Court on Saturday night.
The van that was torched at Kavanagh Court on Saturday night.
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A local businessman whose van was torched at the weekend has branded those behind the attack “scumbags.”

Paul Burke, owner of ‘Legenderry Bouncy Castles,’ was speaking after his work van was burnt out in Kavanagh Court in the Ballymagroarty area at around 11.30 pm on Saturday.

Paul Burke, owner of Legenderry Bouncy Castles

Paul Burke, owner of Legenderry Bouncy Castles

Mr Burke, who has been on holidays and will return to Derry today, said he was disgusted at the attack, which was one of a series of incidents across the troubled estate over the weekend.

He said a neighbour had contacted him to tell him that the driver’s window had been smashed and a petrol bomb thrown into the vehicle.

Mr. Burke has now offered a reward of £1,000 for information leading to the detection of those responsible.

He said: “We’ve just had a newborn child four days ago and I am trying to make a living to support my family.

“Whoever did this, they are sheer and utter scumbags.”

The arson attack resulted in £1,500 in cash takings stored in the van going up in flames, along with sat navs, the keys to a second van and keepsake gifts marking the birth of Mr. Burke’s daughter.

The businessman said: “It’s also the impact this will have on my customers, I’ve had to contact several to cancel and these are people who have maybe booked two or three weeks in advance for events such as birthday parties. The insurance company is closed due to the Bank Holiday so I haven’t been able to get a courtesy van just yet. I’m hoping to get it sorted on Tuesday.”

A PSNI spokesman meanwhile has appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “Police are investigating a fire in a van in the Kavanagh Court area of Derry on Saturday, 27 August.

“At around 11.50pm police received a report that a van parked in the area had been set on fire. “Police and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service attended and the fire was extinguished. Damage was caused to the van as a result.

“Police are appealing for anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact them in Strand Road quoting reference number 1738 27/08/16. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111.”