News

Vandals wreak havoc at Castlederg recreational park

Thursday, 22 June 2017

JUST weeks after it was installed, vandals have upended and damaged a portaloo in a recreational park in Castlederg.

A life-saving throw-line was also interfered with. The toilet facility was recently installed at Castle Park at the request of local Ulster Unionist councillor, Derek Hussey.

The park, which has undergone an extensive upgrade in recent years, is popular among locals - particularly during spells of good weather.

Alderman Hussey, who represents the Derg area on council, had successfully lobbied Derry City and Strabane District Council officials to install the toilet as a short-term solution with a view to a permanent facility at the location.

The portaloo was moved on site at the beginning of this month to the delight of Mr Hussey and locals. However, that delight was short-lived when on Sunday morning, it was discovered that vandals wreaked havoc.

Cllr Hussey says the vandalism and destruction - which is now the subject of a police investigation - has caused widespread anger within the community.

"When I arrived at the park I was totally disgusted to witness the damaged portaloo which had been up-ended and possibly jumped upon by the hooligans responsible thereby causing extra damage to the facility.

"This toilet had been installed by council on site following requests from those across the community who are using Castle Park in increasing numbers, many with young children, particularly in periods of good weather.

"As well as damage to the toilet a safety throw-line was torn from its mounting and left lying entangled on the ground. Thankfully, the throw-line was able to be sorted out and replaced."

The Derg politician has urged anyone with information to bring it forward to the local authorities.

"I would urge anyone with any knowledge or suspicions concerning this wilful attack on our community facility to contact local police, myself or any other elected representative. Those who carried out this wanton vandalism need to be made responsible to the authorities

"Throughout the day I have been receiving messages of condemnation from across all of our community. Many are dismayed and indeed angry that a facility asked for by the community and welcomed would be vandalised in this way by hooligans most likely from within our own midst. Our community deserves better," he said.

He added that he would be contacting council and urging a replacement portaloo be re-instated at the site.

"We cannot allow our wider community to be disadvantaged by the actions of a few 'gulpins' and I trust that council can redress the issue and indeed that those responsible for the damage can quickly be identified and dealt with."

The PSNI says enquiries are ongoing and has urged anyone with information to contact them on the 101 number. Information can also be passed on to police anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.

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