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Life-saving river equipment destroyed

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Life-saving river equipment destroyed thumbnailMourne rescue group renew plea for end to vandalism

THIS is the condition that one of the throw-lines along the River Mourne in Strabane has been left in by vandals.

The life-saving equipment situated along the townside of the river upstream from the old bridge was destroyed at the weekend.

It is believed it was targeted sometime on Sunday night. Mourne River Search and Rescue (MRSAR) says the device is no longer usable.

In what has become a regular occurrence locally, lifebelts and throwlines along the river front are being routinely targeted and damaged.

MRSAR says the equipment is being damaged at least twice a week with its team of volunteers regularly having to rescue items which have been thrown into the river.

The rescue group says that despite repeated appeals on its social media page and via this newspaper the message is still not getting through to the culprits of the dangers of tampering with the life-saving equipment.

Taking to its Facebook page on Monday after discovering the damage, the group issued a renewed appeal for those responsible to desist.

"This vital piece of lifesaving equipment is now unusable and a piece of it is actually missing.

"In addition, the lifebelt on the Strabane side of Lifford Bridge has also been tampered with and is currently tied in numerous knots to the railings of the bridge," a spokesperson said.

"Sooner or later someone from our town or a visitor who doesn't know the river and how dangerous it can be is going to need this equipment and it won't be available and where water is involved, by the time the emergency responders arrive - no matter how quickly - sometimes it's too late."

Pleading for an end to the repeated vandalism, MRSAR added: "If you see someone tampering with this lifesaving equipment, please make their identity known to the appropriate authorities."

The PSNI says it takes the matter seriously and has urged people to refrain from damaging the equipment. Anyone who sees others tampering or in possession of a throw-line/lifebelt is asked to report it immediately to the PSNI. Information can be passed on via the 101 non-emergency number.

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