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Gardening machinery stolen from charity

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

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THE Vice-Chairman of The Cabbage Patchers believes the group was specifically targeted as 1,300 to 1,500 worth of gardening equipment was stolen from the charity group.
Some of the gardening machinery, which was stolen from a locked container in Warrenpoint Port, included strimmers, lawnmowers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers, as well as a number of hand tools.
Thankfully though, community spirit has shone through as JP Corry, Newry, has kindly donated a voucher for gardening tools and equipment to help The Cabbage Patchers get back to work.
Vice-Chairperson of the Cabbage Patchers Harry Hughes, discovered the theft last Tuesday morning (July 3) as he went to pick up a few tools while the group was working with young people who were referred to them by the Youth Justice Agency.
The container had been forced open with almost all of the equipment taken and Mr Hughes believes the tools would have been removed by something much larger than a car.
However, as the equipment had not been used since April 26, while The Cabbage Patchers were waiting for funding for a new trailer, the container could have been broken into anytime within that period.
“We think it was targeted and it was somebody that was watching us taking stuff in and out and knew that there was valuable machinery in the unit," explained Mr Hughes.
“We had suspended our work for a while because were were waiting for funding for a new trailer and because of that the police said it would be very difficult to detect anything.
“Any forensics that would have been on the handles of the locks would have dispersed by now due to rain and general weather.
“The CCTV isn't in the position that it used to be because of work going on at the port. The police said that even if the CCTV was in the same position, it generally operates on a one month loop so when that month is up it will start just start recording over the old images."
The Cabbage Patchers, who have been running for eight years, have members with disabilities and mental health issues, while those on benefits are referred to the charity. The Youth Justice Agency also works with the charity in order to help reintegrate young offenders back into society.
It's now up to the charity to compile a detailed list of what was stolen and its value but this has been made much more difficult as many of the tools were donated.
“We have to make sure our tools our regularly serviced so what was stolen was in tip top condition," added Mr Hughes.
The Cabbage Patchers will now be setting up a GoFundMe page to help get themselves get back on their feet and details of how to donate will soon be available on their Facebook page.

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