Vandalism at church

VANDALS who attacked Holy Trinity Church in Waringstown came close to causing a major pollution incident or possibly a fire.

During last week’s attack they had damaged a pipe leading to an oil tank at the church - which leaked around 120 litres of oil.

Had the damage not been discovered sooner around 600 litres could have leaked which could have polluted nearby graves and a river.

Sometime during the night of December 27/28 an outside toilet at the church was vandalised.

A further check revealed that the oil storage tank for the central heating had the output pipe damaged to such extent that approximately 120 litres of fuel had leaked, causing some pollution to the immediate area.

It’s understood the pipe leading to the gate valve in the tank was kicked, thereby partially dislodging it. If it had not been noticed at around 11am on the 28th there is a possibility that between 500-600 litres of oil would have drained into the area in question causing considerable pollution to the grave plots and river which runs adjacent to the graveyard.

The damage was promptly reported to the police who responded. They recorded all relevant details.

If you noticed any suspicious activity in the area during the night of 27th/28th please telephone the PSNI on 0845 600 8000 and report what you saw.

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has condemned those who vandalised the church.

“This was a dangerous act of vandalism which could so easily have led to life-threatening consequences. I understand that an outlet pipe to a storage tank was broken and that this caused the oil to leak out.

“As it is, we can be thankful that a fire did not break out but sadly, the church has been left to clean up the resulting mess and to foot the bill.

“All acts of vandalism are to be roundly condemned, but for this to occur on church property and at Christmas time makes this particular incident utterly reprehensible.

“I utterly condemn the actions of those responsible and would urge anyone who may have information useful to the police to contact Lurgan PSNI.”

The Rector, Rev Bryan Martin said: “I would ask anyone who saw suspicious behaviour in and around the church to contact the PSNI who are aware of this issue.

“It is likely that people may have been tending to graves around Christmas time and I would appeal to those people to recall any suspicious behaviour and to report it, as it may help.”