‘Vandals could have been killed’

Victoria door vandalised at  R4 in Tavanagh Industrial Estate. It fell so heavily in smashed floor boards
Victoria door vandalised at R4 in Tavanagh Industrial Estate. It fell so heavily in smashed floor boards

Vandals could have been killed after a heavy Victorian door fell so violently it smashed floorboards above the basement in a Portadown industrial estate.

Repeated anti-social behaviour over recent weeks culminated in an incident on Friday afternoon when vandals broke down the 18th century door at R4 in Tavanagh Industrial Estate.

Owner Lynn Kerr said it took five men several hours to repair and secure the door on Friday night.

“If it had fallen on them or they had gotten through the door they would have been killed or very badly injured,” she said, adding that the door has a massive skylight which could have fallen and sliced the vandals underneath.

The businesswoman said it was just one of a many instances of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour at the industrial estate - the last of which was on Sunday night when the vandals returned.

“We had the door well secured so they couldn’t get in but they tried to bust through the door panels which are six inches thick. If they had got in and fell through the floorboards to the basement they could have broken their neck or been killed as it is a steep drop,” she said.

Lynn explained that the Victorian windows are around 12 feet in size but covered in a metal grill to protect them. She explained that the vandals had used narrow sticks to poke through the grill to try and break the windows.

And at the Soccer Indoors centre which runs summer camps for youngsters, the vandals emptied three 11 litre wheelie bins spewing the rubbish all over the industrial park.

Paul Rea who runs Soccer Indoors warned: “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed or badly injured. I have seen them roof hopping. Some child is going to get killed.”

Paul said he has seen children and teenagers drinking and smoking in the estate and there are constant episodes of ‘mindless vandalism’.

“I started the Soccer Indoors to help get the kids off the street. We do a lot of work with kids and groups here,” he said. “And Lynn has spent a fortune opening a business in a run down factory to bring employment to the local area. But these mindless gits are just intent on causing damage. Parents need to know where their children are.”

He also called for more police patrols in the area to help combat this growing problem

In a hard hitting message on the PSNI Craigavon Facebook page, police asked: “Hey kids, ever seen what happens to a body when it comes into contact with factory machinery? I mean, how bad could it be?

“Well here’s a clue, it’s not like the films where you will just about reach for the emergency cut off switch in time. It’ll be the end of you, and a horrendous scene for us to deal with. A worse one for your family.

“For that reason, the criminal damage to the door of R4, Tavanagh Industrial Estate Portadown, is all the more worrying. It looked as though kids had tried to get in, no doubt for a nosey around.

“I’ve seen the aftermath of industrial accidents. It’s not something you ever want to experience again, nor is it something I’d wish on anyone. Machinery and the human body are not designed to mix.”