THIEVES have attempted to steal lead from the roof of an Orange Hall in Co Down.
The incident took place at Drumlough Orange Hall, near Rathfriland, on Tuesday afternoon – the third of its kind in the south Down area in recent weeks.
Extensive damage was caused to the property prior to the two intruders being disturbed by a member of the Lodge which uses the hall.
Subsequent heavy rain also caused major water damage to the hall.
The building has only recently undergone an extensive renovation and in July was targeted in a sectarian attack when republican graffiti was daubed on an entrance wall.
A spokesman for Drumlough LOL 153 condemned those responsible.
He said: “The lodge members simply cannot understand the motivation behind this brazen attack on our hall which occurred in broad daylight.
“The sheer audacity of those involved knows no bounds and it was only by sheer coincidence that the perpetrators were caught in the act, otherwise the consequences could have been much worse.”
The Orangeman appealed for any witnesses to assist the police in their investigations and warned all key holders of community halls in the area to be vigilant.
He added: “Those involved in such criminal activity must face the full rigours of the law.”
A spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland condemned the latest attack on property belonging to the Institution.