THIEVES have been targeting the most vulnerable in society with a series of break-ins at a mental health charity.
Action Mental Health are a charity based in Craigavon whose New Horizons project at Tannaghmore Gardens provides a vital service for people recovering from mental health issues.
The New Horizons project has among its facilities a garden for clients to unwind and for the public to purchase plants and vegetables grown there.
Twice in the past month the walled garden has been broken into and equipment taken.
Skills Coach John Sim said: “This is a secure site. Whoever has done this has had to climb the wall and get over barbed wire. The equipment they’ve taken is pretty specific. I’d say these people had planned this out.
“They took one of our big trolleys to carry the stuff. We followed the trail it had left and found it dumped in the lake.”
The most recent break in took place sometime between Friday (August 19) and Monday (August 22). The items taken included two rolls of Maypex, four wooden wheelbarrow planters, a set of golf clubs and a number of bags of peat and plants. The last break in saw a lawnmower and hand tools stolen.
Service Manager Colin Loughran said: “People might think this is a council facility and whatever’s been taken won’t be missed. That’s not the case. This is a charity and any money we make from the sale of things grown in the garden goes straight back in.”
Colin added: “The golf clubs had been donated by a lady from Tandragee to allow our clients to use them at the driving range.
“I think they were on their way out with two fire extinguishers when they spotted the golf clubs. They’ve put the fire extinguishers down and taken the golf clubs instead.”
He continued: “The people who attend this service are making a contribution to their local community.
“It’s very disheartening for our clients to see this kind of thing happen.”
Police in Lurgan are appealing for information following the theft of gardening equipment from the charity premises at Tannaghmore Gardens.
Police are appealing to anyone who has information in relation to this incident to contact them on 0845 600 8000. If you prefer to provide information without giving your personal details you can contact the independent Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.