Vandals torch £15,000 of building stock

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Vandals have torched between £15-20,000 worth of building equipment destined to be used in the refurbishment of Housing Executive homes in the city.

The equipment, including 13 specialist fire doors, were damaged when a large metal container - stored at Cromore Gardens in Creggan - was set on fire in the early hours of Saturday morning

Site manager Francie Murphy said the destruction could lead to a delay of more than a month in the planned refurbishment of social housing properties in the Long Tower and Bogside areas.

Gary Donnelly, who is standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming council elections later this month branded those responsible for the vandalism as a “disgrace”.

“The people in our communities have campaigned long and hard for improvements to their homes only to have something like this put back works and cost a considerable amount of money.”

Mr Donnelly said he was made aware of the fire by local residents in Cromore Park, who said the fire was started at around 4.30am on Saturday morning by revellers they believed were coming home from a disco or house party.

Mr Murphy said those who carried out the attack must have come equipped as they would have needed bolt cutters to gain access to the container.

“What we don’t know is if someone tried to break in thinking there would be a lot of tools worth stealing and then set fire to it, or if someone had broken in and left it open - allowing a second group of young people to be able to set fire to it.”

Mr Murphy said his firm had been on site for nine months and had never encountered any trouble before.

Mr Donnelly added that the incident was an “an incident of wanton vandalism” which “served no purpose but to cause hardship to the local community”.

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