Call to curb cuts on policing after attack at Mount Zion

Mount Zion House in Edward Street. LM24-139gc
Mount Zion House in Edward Street. LM24-139gc

A call to curb any further cuts to the community policing budget has been made after an attack on Lurgan’s Mount Zion.

Police said windows were smashed and other damage caused during the break-in at the much valued community resource in the town centre in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police believe a burglary was “interrupted” and as a result nothing was stolen. However, office furniture inside the building was damaged.

A spokeswoman said officers are “keen to speak to a man who was seen running away towards the Shankill area of the town”.

“He is described as being around 35 years old, of heavy build and with facial stubble,” said the PSNI.

“He was reported to be wearing a dark hat and jacket and light-coloured jeans.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Maire Cairns described the attack as ‘sickening’

“Mount Zion is home to a number of charities, advice organisations and childcare facilities.

“To attack this building is to strike at the very heart of our community. I wholeheartedly condemn the reckless actions of the individual involved.

“At a DEA meeting in Magheralin this week, which I chaired, party colleagues raised the issue of burglaries in the E district.

“We will be resisting any further cuts to the community policing budget,” said Cllr Cairns

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly also condemned those behind the vandalism.

She said: “Mount Zion house is a home for community groups, charitable projects and businesses from across Lurgan and further afield.

“Those who set out to steal from this vital community facility have no respect for local people or the hard work undertaken here.”

Upper Bann DUP MLA Carla Lockhart joined the condemnation.

She said: “This is a disgusting attack on Mount Zion House and one I unreservedly condemn. The building for many years has been used as a safe, shared space for children, young people and various charities and businesses.

“In the past it has also be utilised for social housing and this is an attack on the whole community.

“I would urge anyone with any information to call the police on the non emergency number 101 and quote reference 19 of 03/02/18.

“There has been a lot of burglaries in the area over the past number of months and I met with the Police this week to press for a dedicated anti burglary policing team within E District.

“There are far to many resources tied up in non essential administrative jobs and I believe we need to see the public protected from these thieves and an increased presence on the ground,” said Mrs Lockhart