The owner of a local shop has described the damage caused when it was repeatedly ramraided overnight as “heart wrenching”.
Pat O’Reilly said thousands of pounds of damage had been caused and a till with a £200 float stolen at Rosskeen Stores in Hazelbank during the raid in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Police said the black Citroen C1 car involved was stolen in the Waterside before being driven the area.
Mr O’Reilly only took over the convenience shop last year and said he spent a lot of money refurbishing it.
He was woken up shortly after 4am on Thursday as the shop alarm went off and the alert came through to his phone.
Speaking outside the shop, he said: “Another fellow that lives down the street works for me, he was phoning me too. He heard the alarm and came round.
“The wee car hit the shutters four times. That is a proper steel shutter. We went to the proper expense to try and secure the place as best we can.
“The police came initially and then they had to go and said they would have a forensic team out and whatever the priority was they would be out in the morning some time.
“There’s freezers busted, the shutters, the windows, the doors. As I’m looking in the shelving is all pushed away back so I take it that is all twisted and then the stock. There’s quite a bit of damage.
“It’s heart wrenching. You put your heart and soul into something. It’s wild, but we will be back at it hopefully today. It will not put us off.”
Two hooded youths were witnessed at the scene and in a bizarre twist, after the raid one of the youths went back into the shop and took out two bottles of lemonade.
Detectives in Derry are appealing for information following the burglary
Police said it is believed that at least two men entered the shop, took the money and made off in the same car, which had been stolen from the Shearwater area of the Waterside.
Detective Inspector David McQuade said: “I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact CID at Strand Road Police Station on the non emergency number 101. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has described the ram raiding of a shop in Hazelbank as “an attack on a local business and the community”.
He said: “The criminals responsible were able to gain access to the shop and lift a number of items. This is the latest in a series of incidents in the wider area involving car crime and amounts to nothing more than an attack on a local business and the community”