Two Derry men who flooded property at North West Regional College have been jailed for six months.
At Derry Crown Court Judge Piers Grant described the actions of businessman James Brendan McVeigh, 3 Talbot Park and handyman Adrian Doherty, 9 Princes Terrace, as “gross recklessness”.
Both men pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal damage of NWRC property on dates between June 26 and August 14, 2011.
The court heard that the men caused flooding to the college as they attempted to clean “noxious petroleum odours” from nearby business premises, Caesar’s Palace.
McVeigh, the proprietor of building and business, said that litigation between Caesar’s Palace and NWRC was ongoing.
The flooding damage was caused by the running of a water pipe and detergents through a partitioning wall. The college had readjusted its CCTV cameras as flooding was occurring on consecutive Sundays. The defendants were caught on camera placing a water hose into the property.
Doherty (47) and McVeigh (65) had initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty to causing the damage in early February.
Sentencing the men, Judge Grant said it was “quite clear” from the CCTV footage that the men placed a water hose which had been attached to an outside tap in holes in the walls of the property adjoining the college property. He added: “Regrettably this was persistent behaviour on both your parts.”
Judge Grant said that the men “had no explanation” for the flooding when interviewed by police but that it emerged they “knew exactly what was going on”.
He said that the actions of the men caused “substantial damage”, estimated at up to £113,000, as well as “severe disruption” at the college.
Judge Grant said McVeigh had been dispute with the NWRC for some time and that there was an “apparent problem” regarding land surrounding the properties which was formerly used as a fuel storage depot.