Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney has expressed his disappointment at the wanton destruction of a number of graves at the City Cemetery over the weekend.
Condemning the vandalism, the Mayor said he was extremely shocked and saddened that this could happen in a place of reflection and solace for grieving families.
He said his thoughts were with the families who owned the graves at this time and assured them that everything would be done to prevent incidents like this in the future.
He said that vandalism is a criminal offence which Council takes very seriously, and any incidents of vandalism perpetrated on Council property is reported directly to the PSNI. He also advised that Council cemetery staff attended the scene to assist with the clean-up.
Mayor Tierney added that CCTV cameras had been installed in a number of areas in the cemetery to assist in deterring and identifying anyone involved in anti-social behaviour. Last week Council announced that all of its cemeteries will close at the earlier time of 8.30pm from this week to reflect the dark evenings.
Mayor Tierney said: “We would urge the public to be aware that the City Cemetery is a place of quiet reflection and such incidents can cause great distress to bereaved families. Anyone who witnesses any anti-social activity or vandalism is asked to contact the PSNI directly or to report it to Council’s Community Safety Wardens, who also operate in the area.”