Call for more police patrols

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Police have been urged to increase evening and night patrols in Tandragee following a spate of vandalism and an assault.

MLA William Irwin met senior police following last Wednesday’s attack on a 19-year-old man.

He said police had confirmed they were taking the latest series of incidents “very seriously”.

Four people have since been charged in relation to the assault. A 45-year-old man, a 37-year-old man and a 50-year-old man were charged with attempting to commit grievous bodily harm.

An 18-year-old man was charged with causing grievous bodily harm by driving, failing to remain, failing to report and failing to stop. He and two of the other defendants will appear before Armagh Magistrates’ Court on July 7.

Commenting on what he described as an “escalating situation”, Mr Irwin said, “I have watched over the past number of weeks a situation which has now got out of control, with a serious assault on a member of the public last Wednesday.

“The town has seen many incidences of graffiti being sprayed throughout the town with specific references to individual police officers and very direct comments about other members of the community. We have had windows in local shops broken and a break-in and ransacking of a local chip shop.”

He added, “The town’s recreation centre was also sprayed with offensive graffiti which cost the council £1,000 to remove and there are growing concerns that drug dealing is taking place at a number of locations in the town.

“In meetings I had with police several months ago I warned of the consequences of scaling back neighbourhood policing in places like Tandragee given the superb work carried out by the local NPT Sergeant and others over the last number of years. The events of the last few weeks emphasise the need for a sustained local neighbourhood unit working from the local station in Tandragee.

He added, “A marvellous Soapbox Derby was held on Saturday evening which hundreds of people attended in Tandragee, which showed the spirit of the community in the town and indeed people do not want the type criminality that we have experienced over the past few months to set the tone for the area.”

Councillor Paul Berry said he had spoken directly to Chief Superintendent David Moore, who has assured him that PSNI resources will be in place to try and ensure these attacks stop.

He said, “This type of activity is unusual in Tandragee and on behalf of the community I would call on the various factions to cease immediately or someone will be killed.”

He also urged anyone with information to contact the PSNI.