Volunteers from the Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway have expressed anger and frustration after being targeted by criminals yet again. In the latest incident, all the lead flashing from the station canopy was stripped off.
The damage was discovered on Thursday 9th May when various nails and plastic fixings were found on the platform. Station manager, Neil Hamilton, described what he found, “After some head scratching, we looked up and saw that all the lead flashing on the platform canopy had been stripped off the three sides of the canopy.”
“Our CCTV footage shows three persons coming over fence from field opposite the platform just before nine o’clock on Wednesday night. However this was obviously a well thought out plan as they tried to take steps to avoid further recording of their faces.”
He continues, “But despite this they are spotted again leaving the site at nearly ten o’clock with the lead from the roof”. Police have found a ladder outside the railway site, which has been removed for forensic examination.
Railway chairman, Michael Collins, expressed his disgust, “Not only is this work and expense we could do without, but can you imagine what could happen if someone decided to strip vital parts off one of our trains to take to a scrapman? That doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Mr. Collins says, “We are sick and sore of this constant drip-drip wave of crime being directed against us, and want to spell out that we are not a soft touch and will back full prosecution of these criminals”.
He adds, “These criminals were on site for nearly an hour, working in full daylight on Wednesday night, someone in the car park or surrounding area must have seen something – if you did, it’s vital that you take that information to the police.”
“The police have their suspicions and we have given them our CCTV footage, but we would appeal to these culprits to turn themselves in, or for members of the public to do so. We would also ask all scrap merchants in the area to immediately report any persons attempting to sell a quantity of lead to you.”
Mr. Collins concludes, “Think about your consciences – is it worth a couple of pounds to risk imprisonment?”