Police treating Dervock band bus attack as hate crime

A bus belonging to Dervock Young Defenders
A bus belonging to Dervock Young Defenders

It’s understood that police are treating as a “hate crime” the burning of a bus in Dervock last night.

A PSNI statement said: “Police are investigating after a bus went on fire at a property on the Carncullagh Road in Dervock in the early hours of this morning.”

Inspector Michael McDonnell said: “The incident was reported to us just after 5.30am. The cause of the fire is being investigated and we are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

“Anyone who was in the area this morning and saw any suspicious activity is asked to contact Coleraine police station on the non-emergency number 101.”

Ballymoney UUP councillor Darry Wilson has condemned the burning of the bus.

Reacting on Twitter, Cllr Wilson said: “Dervock band and community bus (including instruments) was destroyed in an arson attack last night. Disgraceful action.”

The former Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Council also posted this picture of the bus.

In response, Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and a UUP Chairman of the Stormont Public Accounts Committee, has called on constituents “to rally behind the Dervock community and give whatever information they can to the police so that arsonists responsible for a bus burning will be brought for the courts”.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip and North Antrim UUP Chairman, was speaking as he condemned “the disgraceful attack on Dervock band bus which was burned recently in an arson attack”.

Assemblyman Swann added: “The incident took place around 05.30 am on 22 July outside Dervock Orange Hall. If anyone has any information, please call the PSNI on 101 immediately.

“This was not only an attack on the band, but an attack on the entire village as the bus was use by other organisations in the community on many occasions throughout the year.

“The arsonists responsible for this despicable attack must be caught by the police and brought before the courts so that they can face the full weight of the law,” said Assemblyman Swann.