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Outrage as Halloween sculptures destroyed by arsonists

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Outrage as Halloween sculptures destroyed by arsonists thumbnailThe ‘Tin Man’ and ‘Wicked Witch’ hay sculptures which had been located at ‘The Tinnies’ in Strabane.

THERE has been widespread outrage locally after two Wizard of Oz-inspired hay sculptures created as part of the town's Halloween celebrations were destroyed by arsonists at the weekend.

The 'Tin Man' and 'Wicked Witch' artworks were part of Derry City and Strabane District Council's (DCSDC) 'Halloween Hay Sculpture Trail' across Strabane and the wider district which have been enjoyed by many since their emergence in recent weeks.

They had been created by local Young Farmers' and community groups in conjunction with DCSDC. Elsewhere, there had been a wide range of other 'spooktacular' characters from scary witches to creepy spiders, weird aliens and skeletons, erected in Donemana, Castlederg, Plumbridge, Newtownstewart and Victoria Bridge.

To the disappointment of the creators and the local community, the sculptures in Strabane were set alight on Sunday night.

Police said they were torched at around 8pm. One appliance from Strabane Fire Station was tasked to deal with the incident.

A spokesperson for the council said the destruction had been met with a papalable sense of disappointment adding that the sculptures had been "extremely popular, particularly with families".

"There is a sense of real disappointment following the damage and we would encourage people to remember that the sculptures are there for everyone to enjoy and to bring the Halloween festivities right across the city and district," added the spokesperson.

Around the same time, a number of pallets at the rear of a business close-by were set alight. It's believed the same individuals are responsible for both.

News of destruction has caused anger and disgust with local people taking to social media in their droves to vent their disappointment.

One contributor described it as "shocking and disgraceful" and another said it was the "despicabale" actions of "mindless idiots".

The PSNI has appealed for witnesses to come forward. Information can be passed on by calling 101 and quoting reference 1541 29/10/17. Information can also be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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