‘Callous’ vandals put community at risk

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VANDALS have shown a ‘callous disregard’ and endangered the entire community after yet another attack at the NIE substation in Victoria Street, says Sinn Fein.

And according to the PSNI, the thieves dug into the waste ground close to the substation, exposing earthing cables and stole copper cabling.

Councillor Noel McGeown strongly condemned the damage to the earthing system at the substation - the latest in a litany of attacks over recent years.

“Electricity is a potential killer and a proper earthling system is an essential safety mechanism,” said Councillor McGeown.

“Vandals who interfered with this substation in the past risked their own lives and disrupted the electricity supply.

“On this occasion they showed total callousness and endangered the entire community by cutting earthling cables.”

Cllr McGeown thanked NIE for their quick response in carrying out emergency repairs and he noted that they had described the condition of the station as very dangerous.

The Loughside representative called on the local community to assist in bringing an end to these attacks before someone lost their lives.

“This was a criminal act with serious repercussions for the general public and anyone with knowledge of the incident or the identity of those responsible should pass that information on without delay. This type of callous criminal behaviour is unacceptable and those responsible must be brought to book before they kill either themselves or an innocent member of the general public.”

Northern Ireland Electricity, the network company, also condemned the vandalism.

Shirley Devlin, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the area, said: “This type of anti-social behaviour is putting the vandals in great danger and leaving innocent members of the public at risk. This substation has been the subject of repeated attacks in recent years and, once again, NIE emergency crews were called to repair the damage caused to the perimeter fence and the substation itself.

“It is impossible to make equipment completely resistant to determined acts of vandalism. The best remedy would be if the people involved can be persuaded to stop putting themselves at risk and their communities to great inconvenience.

“Anyone who interferes with electricity equipment must think about their actions and the serious consequences of their behaviour. This latest incident has been reported to the local PSNI office and I would ask all members of the local community to be extra vigilant and to report anything suspicious to the local PSNI or ourselves on 08457 643 643.”

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police received reports of thieves digging in waste ground adjacent to a derelict building close to the sub station in Lurgan around 1:30pm on Saturday 22 July. The thieves exposed earthing cables in attempt to get copper and approximately 10/12m of copper cabling was removed. NIE spent some time in the area repairing the wiring and making safe the property.”