Local taxi driver condemns mindless act of criminal damage

June 23, 2014

By Christine Keighery

A Crossmaglen taxi driver has hit out at mindless vandals who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to his own private vehicle which he had parked overnight in The Square, Crossmaglen.

Phillip McKeever’s Skoda Octavia was parked in the town square from 6pm on Saturday 14th June while he worked the night shift as a taxi driver in the town. When he returned to his vehicle around 5am on Sunday morning, he discovered extensive damage, most likely carried out with a key or a nail, on almost every surface of the car.  The angry taxi driver told The Examiner that the damage caused by the wanton vandalism will cost around £2,000 to repair.

“I had just finished work and went to my car around 5am on Sunday morning,” said Mr McKeever,

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw what had been done to it.  There were huge scratches right through to the metal along the sides, bonnet, roof – everywhere!

“I’ve had estimates done which have all confirmed the cost of fixing the damage will run into £2,000. It’s unbelievable that someone could do this for no reason whatsoever ” he said.

Clearly fuming at the inconvenience and financial cost the act of thuggery will incur for him, Mr McKeever has called for tighter security measures around the town, including the installation of security cameras as a deterrent for criminal behaviour.

He has also called on Saturday night coach companies who drop off two bus loads of teenage revellers at the Square every weekend in the early hours of Sunday morning to help the situation by dropping their passengers off at destinations closer to their homes along the way.

“Every Saturday night bus loads of teenagers are dropped off here after being at a Banbridge nightclub and, obviously some of them are worse for wear and hang around the Square and the town until local taxi drivers like me take them home to the outlying areas around Crossmaglen.  “Some can go a bit crazy after drinking and there can be trouble in the town most weekends. Maybe the bus companies could drop these teenagers nearer to their homes instead of them descending on the Square in such big numbers trying to get home.

“Of course I don’t know who has attacked my car but it’s ironic that there’s always the possibility I might have taken the person or people who did it home in my taxi that same night.”

SDLP MLA Geraldine Donnelly has condemned the attack on Mr McKeever’s vehicle describing the extent of the damage as “shocking.” She too called for improved security measures in the town and appealed to anyone who may have noticed anything unusual in the Square on Saturday 14th June between 6pm and 5am the following morning to come forward to Crossmaglen police.

The PSNI have confirmed that they are investigating the criminal damage incident and echoed Mrs Donnelly’s call for anyone with information about the attack to contact police in Crossmaglen station.