Residents of a Derry estate have been praised after they intervened last night to prevent a man’s work van being torched after it was stolen in Donegal and driven to the area.
Joyriders are understood to have taken the white van in the Carndonagh area of north Inishowen before driving it 20 miles south into Derry. Eyewitnesses have reported that the van was being driven recklessly and at speed through the Galliagh area before they mounted a roundabout outside St Joseph’s Church on Monday evening.
Members of Shantallow Community Collective and Independent Derry & Strabane Councillor Warren Robinson went to the scene after the alarm was raised.
Speaking about the incident, which occurred at around 8pm on Monday, Colr. Robinson said the culprits are believed to belong to the same small group of people responsible for other anti-social incidents across the region.
Colr. Robinson said reports at the scene suggested the van owner was working at a house in Carndonagh and when he went to get tools from his van, which had been parked in the driveway, he discovered it had been stolen.
“The van was flying around for a while and then mounted the roundabout,” he said. “They were still in the van with the keys when somebody went over and pulled the keys out of the van and chased them off.
“At that stage they were in process of trying to burn it because they couldn’t move it.
“People have taken the tools out of the van to keep them in a safe location and arrangements are being made with Shantallow Community Collective for him to collect the tools today.”
Colr. Robinson said the good people of the area were angered by a series of episodes across the area over recent months, with joyriders also reported on the Madams Bank Road later on Monday night.
He also praised the actions of the local community which resulted in the van owner being reunited with his van and his equipment being saved.
“Last night was another example of people coming together. This man’s livelihood could have been devastated.
“I think we need more of the community working together to bring these incidents to an end,” he said.