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Craigavon trim trail vandalism bill expected to top £20,000 to replace equipment destroyed

It is expected to be more than the £15,000 it cost to open the facility in 2005 with committee to make a decision on the way forward in March

Craigavon park vandalism

A bill to replace equipment vandalised at Craigavon Lakes last month is expected to hit the £20,000 mark.

The trim trail saw extensive damage caused over the course of a couple of nights in January, when culprits were found to have sawn through timber structures.

The popular facility had been installed in 2005 thanks to a £15,000 grant from the Department of Environment and Regional Affairs.

Fast forward 15 years and imbeciles saw fit to do their worst and now rate-payes will foot the hefty costs to get it up and running again – if council decides to do so.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has been working closely with the PSNI to help identify the culprits and that investigation is ongoing.

It was on the morning of Saturday, January 18, that grounds maintenance staff at the Craigavon Lakes discovered a piece of the trim trail equipment had been sawn in half, rendering it useless and creating a potential hazard to the public.

The staff made the area safe and informed PSNI.

The following day another piece of the trim trail equipment had been similarly vandalised and, in the following nights, five more pieces of equipment were destroyed.

A report to council’s leisure committee said this was despite the PSNI “undertaking surveillance of the area and staff mounting patrols on a voluntary basis”.

To date seven items of equipment have been vandalised beyond use and a number of signs have been sawn down too.

Council officers are researching the cost of replacing the damaged equipment.

But committee was told it was likely the replacement cost for the seven damaged items will far exceed the initial £15,000 cost of the entire trail.

Officers are therefore compiling a paper – to be presented at the March meeting – outlining options.

Early indications are that the cost of purchasing and reinstalling the seven items will be in the region of £20,000.

Further information will now be brought to the March meeting when decisions will have to be taken on how – and if – to proceed.

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