Family left devastated as pet dog brutally killed by burglars

November 28, 2016

A Bessbrook family has been left devastated after their family pet was brutally bludgeoned to death by heartless burglars who broke into their Archdale home on Friday evening.

The sickening incident has sent shockwaves throughout the local community, where residents had recently banded together to establish a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the wake of a spate of break-ins and vehicle thefts throughout the Bessbrook and Camlough area.

Just days before the despicable attack, groups of residents had begun nightly patrols of the area in the hope that their visual presence would prevent opportunistic burglars from striking.

Despite the valiant efforts to stamp out such crimes, a family home in the area was once again targeted – and this time with dire consequences.

Callous thieves who broke into the house in Archdale, Bessbrook while the occupants were out enjoying a family activity on Friday evening are thought to have beaten the 12 year old Jack Russell, Sid, with a steel bar. The much loved pet always slept on one of the children’s beds and it was here the shocked family found his body when they returned home to an unimaginable scene.

Money boxes, jewellery and cash – with a combined value of over £1,000 – are thought to have been taken in the raid, but, according to a neighbour, it is the loss of little Sid that the heartbroken family will “take a long time to get over.”

The horrifying incident has been widely condemned, with Sinn Fein councillor, Roisin Mulgrew, conveying the shock and disgust of the entire community.

“The area has witnessed a rise in burglaries over this past period, however the killing of the family pet has reached a new low. Local people are rightly angry” said the councillor Mulgrew.

“I have no doubt this dastardly act has compounded the fear of the owners of the pet. I would once again appeal for vigilance and anyone noticing any suspicious activity at all should contact the police. Those engaged in these attacks on the community and their property must be apprehended and face the full rigours of the law”.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty highlighted that the attack had come after 14 break-ins in the area and said people had been left “very angry.”

“I understand the dog belongs to a daughter in the family. It’s a shocking situation,” said Mr McNulty.

“The community have reacted very well to the break-ins with nightly walk-arounds to help maintain vigilance in the area, but what has happened tonight has truly shocked people.”

Police say they believe the attack may be linked to a string of burglaries which took place on the same evening and in recent days across the district.

Detective Inspector Trevor Stevenson revealed they had received reports that a number of men travelling in a dark coloured car, possibly a BMW 1 Series, had broken into properties in Donard View in Loughbrickland, Derrymore Road in Newry as well as the property in Archdale.

“Entry was forced to the houses in each instance with jewellery and cash stolen,” said the Detective Inspector.

“These incidents follow reports in recent days of suspicious activity in the Bessbrook and Camlough areas, involving men travelling in a car matching the description given last night.

“We believe these incidents may be linked and are actively seeking to locate this car and its occupants.”

Social media posts appeared on Saturday evening warning that a vehicle matching the description had been spotted in the Ardcarne area of Newry and the PSNI Newry and Mourne Facebook page also shared a photo of a black 5 door BMW 130i SE model, which they said was last spotted with a local registration, possibly “LEZ”, in the greater Newry city area.

They believe the vehicle could likely be displaying any number plate, either local, English or Irish and appealed to anyone who sees it to call police on 101 immediately, giving as much detail as possible including a description of the occupants, the direction of travel and the current number plate of the vehicle.