‘Cowards and bullies’ target Academy

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A graffiti attack at Banbridge Academy has been described as a “cowardly attempt at intimidation and bullying” and linked to operations by police to tackle drugs in the town.

Shortly before 5am on Wednesday September 17, police received a report of two males acting suspiciously in the Lurgan Road area.

Officers attended and found graffiti painted onto the walls of the school. It is believed this occurred a very short time before as officers had patrolled Lurgan Road a number of times during the night.

Chief Inspector Ian Campbell, Banbridge Area Commander, said: “We have been vociferous in our attempts to address the illegal use and supply of drugs in Banbridge and we believe this incident is linked to our proactive operations in tackling this type of crime in the local area.

“It is a cowardly attempt at intimidation and bullying and it only reinforces our efforts to investigate, detect and put before the court those involved in drug related crime in Banbridge.

“An attack on a school is an attack on the heart of the community and I hope that local residents will continue to support us and work to keep Banbridge safe.”

Alongside police and the Principal of Banbridge Academy, Ulster Unionist Councillor Glenn Barr condemed those responsible

Speaking about the grafitti Mr Barr said: “It only causes disruption to our teachers whose job it is to educate our children.”

He added: “On the nature of the graffiti can I say that I am fully supportive of the PSNI’s recent tactics in combating the scourge of drugs. I urge your readers to please be vigilant and bring forward information; however small forward to community representatives such as myself or indeed the PSNI through crimestoppers. We need to work as a community.”

Principal of Banbridge Academy, Mr Raymond Pollock, added: “It is sad and extremely disappointing that the Academy has been the target for this behaviour. We seek to provide a safe and secure environment for the young people of our community in which they may learn together and such actions do absolutely nothing to advance that, indeed they create anxiety and fear. Such behaviour is unacceptable. School should be a safe haven for our young people.”

Police would like to hear from anyone who can help to identify the two males seen in the Lurgan Road area. The first male is described as being in his early 20s, tall and thin with a bald head. He was wearing a blue top with yellow writing on it and blue jeans. The second male is described as being in his late 20s to early 30s, small and of stocky build with dirty fair hair. He was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.

Chief Inspector Campbell continued: “We would like to hear from anyone who has information in relation to this incident. We can be contacted on the 101 number.”