Heartless vandals target community hub

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Police are investigating after thieves targeted a vital resource which supports autistic children in Ballyclare.

The Times understands criminal damage was caused to facilities at Grange Community House in the Grange Estate area of Ballyclare, some time on Wednesday, January 18.

The project operates a programme of classes, workshops and activities for people living in the Grange and Thornhill areas of the town.

Detailing the extent of the damage in an emotional post on the Grange Community House Facebook page, a spokesperson said: “Bad enough to steal the grills off the windows and the door of the community house, but to cut out a section of the fence surrounding the allotments, break into the shed, vandalise the water supply, steal a wheelbarrow and then steal the storage box used for the wee tools for the eco warriors and the autism project takes it to a whole new level!

“Hope you’re happy with yourselves, whoever you are, and thanks so much for your contribution to making this a better place to live and for the kids to grow up in!”

Commenting on the incident, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police received a report that a section of a fence had been damaged at an allotment in the Thornhill Gardens area of Ballyclare some time overnight, Wednesday, January 18.

“A window of a shed is also reported to have been broken. Police enquiries are continuing.”

Condemning the incident, PUP representative, Scott McDowell said: “This is a disgraceful act. There is a lot of good work carried out by the volunteers at Grange Community House and it is shocking that the facility should be targeted.

“The facility helps a number of groups in the community, including children with autism. It is a very low act to attack somewhere which offers such vital support.

“I would urge anyone with information to pass it on to the police.”