Empty houses being vandalised

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VANDALISM had reached disgraceful proportions in the estate at Drumnamoe in April 1969.

Residents were at a loss to suggest how the senseless wrecking of empty houses could be stopped.

Almost thirty unoccupied houses had been the target for the window smashers.

Doors were torn from their hinges, garage doors had been twisted almost double and wrenched from their frames.

Broken glass was littered across parts of the estate, the first section of which had only been officially opened a year previous.

One house which the vandals broke into had been completely flooded.

This was caused after copper pipes had been ripped from the walls.

It was estimated that the damage caused to one house could have cost up to £500 to repair.

Glaziers, who had already replaced glass in many of the houses, were needed once again.

Former watchman on the site, Mr James Heaney, said he had never seen vandalism on such a scale in his life.

“These vandals seem to be getting away with just whatever they want and then when they are caught the courts will be far too lenient with them anyway,” exclaimed Mr Heaney.

Mrs Mary Erwin, one of the residents in the estate who had been living in Lurgan Tarry for nine months, described the wanton destruction as “terrible”.

“I don’t know how people can do this sort of thing”.

She had not seen any of the damage being done.

Mrs Eileen Lennon agreed that the damage was “terrible” but she wondered how it could have been stopped.

“There is a lot of running around here at night but I never see anything being broken.”

Mr John Rowland, General foreman of the site for George Wimpey said they had no responsibility for repairing the damage caused by vandals but he felt that something had to be done quickly to curb the destruction which he described as “out of this world.”

“This is costing Lurgan rate payers a lot of money.”

He added: “I have seen cases where a house was almost totally wrecked within a day of a tenant moving out.”

A police spokesman said that the outrages of vandalism were causing considerable concern and that plain clothed patrols had been visiting the estate.

These patrols had been monitoring the estate at various times throughout the day and night.

Lurgan Borough Council, whose responsibility it was to carry out the repairs of the damaged properties, were having the total cost of the damage assessed.

A watchman had also been appointed for the estate.