DOWN District Councillor Colin McGrath (SDLP) has urged people in Downpatrick and the surrounding areas to exercise extra vigilance after a number of incidents of fuel theft were reported recently.
He said: “There have been four confirmed cases of fuel theft in the Downpatrick area in the last few weeks. It’s important that local people remain vigilant and secure their home heating oil tanks to avoid falling victim to the callous criminals preying on this community.
“The volumes of fuel stolen suggest that it isn’t simply for personal use and that those behind the theft are selling it on for profit. Fuel poverty is a very real threat for many people in our community. Those seeking to profit by plunging hard working families into further misery should be ashamed of themselves and are beneath contempt.
“I would appeal to anyone approached with the offer of this fuel to refuse it and report the incident to the police. I understand that money is tight in many households but accepting this stolen fuel will only bring misery to other homes in Downpatrick.
“I would urge anyone who has seen anything suspicious to report it to the police and help rid our community of these thieves.”
Local schools have also been targetted. An angry parent speaking to Down News said: “St Joseph’s Primary Ballycruttle, St Malachy’s Primary School, Kilclief and I understand St Mary’s Primary School in Dunsford was hit too. I dont know what the world is coming too when they steal from innocent children. Its ridiculous. Just a disgrace.”