Roy Beggs MLA has called for support from the public to help police identify those who caused the criminal damage at the Joymount Electrical Substation in Carrickfergus on Friday night.
The Ulster Unionist MLA said “The deliberate damage caused to the electrical supply resulted in the loss of power to thousands of homes within the Carrickfergus Area. Whilst the loss of lighting is inconvenient and causes unnecessary risks, the loss of electrical power also results in central heating systems being unable to operate. This has resulted in vulnerable individuals -the old and the young coming more susceptible to cold weather.
Those who deliberately damaged this property have not only risked their own lives but the lives of others. They have also caused significant unnecessary cost to electricity users in terms of the emergency actions that had to be carried out and the subsequent repairs. All of this will ultimately have to be paid by all electricity users. In other words we all will have to pay for this deliberate act of vandalism on a community facility.”
The East Antrim MLA who is piloting a private members’ Bill on Metal Theft, which is often linked to trespass on NIE property added;
“I would like to praise Northern Ireland Electricity for their speedy response in renewing power to all but 60 homes within a couple of hours and enabling the remaining homes to have alternative electrical supplies in the early hours of the following morning.
I would call on the entire community to help to identify those who may be involved in this damage which could have endangered life. Eeven the smallest piece of information could help identify those who have been involved in this criminal damage to this public asset. I would ask that any information which could assist in identifying the culprits would be passed to the PSNI”