POLICE in Downpatrick are investigating criminal damage to Killyleagh Primary School and other sites around Killyleagh and Shrigley.
On late Thursday evening on 4 April or in the early hours of Friday morning 5 April vandals struck and caused widespread damage and mayhem.
Shortly after 9.30pm, it was discovered that 26 windows at the school had been smashed. A number of youths had been seen in the area of the school earlier in the evening and police would like to speak to them to rule them out of the investigation.
A number of car windows were also broken in Shrigley village and sectarian IRA slogans were painted on walls. And a fire was lit at a vacant site on the Comber road causing further nuiscance.
Rowallene Down District Councillor Billy Walker has strongly condemned the vandalism and said: “This is a wanton act of vandalism and must be totally and strongly condemned. I believe that these events were connected and that the elements who did this are likely living in the area.
“I would urge anyone who has any knowledge of these crimes or who saw anything suspicious to contact the police at Downpatrick 028 44 615011 or talk confidentially on Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111. Whoever caused this destruction must be brought to book. They must be sent before the courts and made an example of.
‘In these times of austerity, the SEELB has to face very costly repairs and this ultimately will impact on the education of all children. It is utterly disgraceful to paint sectarian slogans in Shrigley. The local community association has recently reformed and is doing an excellent job and should be supported by the whole community. They are hoping to raise funding to set up a new play-park and have other excellent plans and should be commended on their community spirit”.
“After our public toilets were burned down two years ago at huge cost to replace, it was also reported that these vandals tried to burn them down too. This has to stop now. It is just a disgrace.
“We do need a proper police prescence in this town and at the moment these young thugs are just roaming around pleasing themselves what they want to do,” added Councillor Walker.
A spokesperson for Killyleagh Primary School said: “This was a serious blow to our school. The broken windows are still boarded up. The P2 class has had to be relocated to a different room as the classroom is covered in glass. It has caused a lot of disruption around the school.”