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5,000 reward offered for information following arson attack on excavators

Thursday, 18 May 2017

5,000 reward offered for information following arson attack on excavators thumbnailThe burnt out cab of a mini-digger, one of three excavation machines destroyed during the arson attack at the site of the new Omagh Integrated Primary School on the Crevenagh Road, Omagh

A REWARD of 5,000 is being offered to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to a successful prosecution in relation to an overnight arson attack at a construction site on the outskirts of Omagh.

According to police sometime between 2am and 2.25am on Sunday morning, three excavators at the site of the new Omagh Integrated Primary School on Crevenagh Road were deliberately set alight causing substantial damage. The machinery is believed to be worth around 250,000 in total.

Local firm, Woodvale Construction, was awarded the 7 million contract in December to build a new school for Omagh Integrated Primary School and currently have 60 workmen on site.

Company director, Robert Ewing, has insisted that while the incident is a "substantial blow", it will not delay the completion of the new school, which is due to be finished by May 2018.

"I'm not sure what the motive behind the attack is, but my message to the perpetrators is simple: you won't stop us from completing our work on time," he reiterated.

"We have a deadline of next May to meet and it will be met. We shifted things about from other sites, and work continued as usual on Monday morning.

"While this incident is undoubtedly a significant blow, it hasn't slowed progress at Omagh Integrated Primary School. The current facilities at the primary school at the moment is not fit for purpose and the work needs to be completed within the time frame."

Mr Ewing said the incident had caused "great annoyance" to the employees of Woodvale Construction.

"The staff were greatly annoyed when they arrived for work on Monday morning, as they treat the machinery as if it's their own. Nothing surprises me any more. We just have to rise above it and continue to do what we do best.

"But we're hopeful the culprits will be brought to justice. The police have forensic evidence and we'll have to wait and see what comes out of that."

Mr Ewing was alerted to the incident after receiving a phone call from an alarm company. He expressed his gratitude to the emergency services for their "rapid actions".

"I was taken back when I first learned of the incident," he admitted. "The first thing I did when I arrived was to call the fire service.

"Their rapid actions, with the help of the PSNI, have helped to avert a much worse situation and we're extremely fortunate it wasn't more serious."

He also paid tribute to the local community who have offered "overwhelming support" since the incident.

Construction of the new school, which will boast 14 classrooms with associated facilities and will be based beside Drumragh Integrated College, started in January.

It will thus create an Integrated Campus for school pupils from four to 18 years with the ability to share the sporting facilities already provided at Drumragh College.

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