Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Recovery business owner counts the cost of devastating arson attack

The owner of car recovery business in Newry has said a devastating arson attack could have a “massive effect” on trade after three of his specialist vehicles were completely destroyed in the Saturday morning incident. 

The recovery trucks were parked at Riverside Recovery’s premises in the Craigmore Mill Industrial Estate in the city when the culprits struck, around 2.30am on Saturday morning. It is believed the perpetrators may have “cased out” the yard from a vehicle on the nearby motorway flyover before making their way on foot to carry out the attack.

Firefighters tasked to the scene battled the blaze for hours, trying to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby industrial units.  

Pictured next to the burnt out wreckage of three 12 tonne recovery trucks destroyed in the inferno, proprietor Mark Cunningham, estimates his losses are in excess of 50,000. 

Mr Cunningham, who set up his recovery business just 12 months ago, told The Examiner all three trucks, containing state-of-the-art sat navs and roadside tools and equipment, were completely gutted in the blaze, leaving him with just one recovery vehicle – a new truck purchased just days before the arson attack, which was parked inside a shed at the site.  

The business owner says he would be facing ruin but for the kindness and support of the local business community who have rallied to help him replace the specialist vehicles he needs to keep his business on the road.    

“Recovery firm BTS Belfast, rang me as soon as they heard what had happened and have offered me a new 10 tonne truck to use in the meantime,” revealed Mr Cunningham, adding that  KC Hire in Newry have also very kindly given him a replacement truck to use, whilst fellow recovery company owner, Johnny Morgan at JM Autospares in Mayobridge, whose car was damaged in the attack, has also offered a replacement vehicle.

“Only for all these people helping me out, I would be facing months without trucks on the road so I am very grateful for their support as I try to count the cost of this to the business,” he said, adding that a post about the attack on his business Facebook page had prompted dozens more offers of trucks from the local community.  

“I’m amazed at how this community pulls together and so thankful to everyone who has helped or offered help in any way.”  

The Managing Director said he is at a loss as to why his business would be targeted and added that high security and 24 hour CCTV installed at his company premises had not managed to deter the culprits – leading him to believe it was a “professional and highly organised attack.”

Police have confirmed the incident is being treated as arson and appealed to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area or who has any information to contact them in Newtownhamilton on 101 quoting reference number 179 28/04/18.