The owner of a garage in Foundry Street is facing a repair bill of up to £7,000 after vehicles on his premises were vandalised for the second time in a week.
Trevor Aston, who owns John Corry Motors, believes the incidents could be linked to anti-social behaviour and drinking at Hoy’s Meadow and under the Northway bridge.
The first incident took place in the early hours of Thursday, July 30 when seven vehicles - four lorries, a van and two cars - were vandalised.
Windows and windscreens were broken, mirrors pulled off and the interiors ransacked. CCTV footage also shows the three culprits jumping on the roofs and bonnets.
Both cars, belonging to customers who had left them in for repairs, were so badly damaged that they had to be written off.
In a second incident last Thursday, another lorry had its windows broken and one of the cars that was previously targeted had a fire extinguisher let off in it.
Said Mr Aston, “There were stereos in the car but they weren’t touched. They (the culprits) seemed to be going through the cars looking for money. The CCTV shows them ransacking the vehicles and just throwing the stuff out onto the ground.
“We have been in these premises in Foundry Street Industrial area for years and there have been sporadic incidents but the anti-social behaviour in the area and the damage is definitely getting worse.”
The industrial area, which is also home to three other businesses, has a gate on the front entrance but the back is not enclosed.
Said Mr Aston, “It would probably cost about £40,000 to put up a fence at the back. A lot of the anti-social behaviour stems from the drinking going on at Hoy’s Meadows.
“They are sitting under the bridge on the Northway day in and day out. Gangs are coming up through our yard during the day and there’s nothing we can do.
“The police arrive and the youths disappear but then they come back again when the police leave. It’s hard for the police too because they can’t be here all the time”.
A PSNI spokesperson said officers will be examining all available CCTV and have spoken to neighbouring businesses.
Other businesses in the industrial estate are having problems too, with Portadown Tiles and Bathrooms having windows broken twice in the past four months, the last time just last week.
Owner Peter Wilson said, “We got security cameras installed after the first incident when our front windows were broken and the sign destroyed. We had to spend money getting those repaired. We’re trying to run a business and it’s hard enough without that.
“Even on weekdays in the summers, we see groups of between four and 12 going up and down to Hoy’s Meadows.”