Northern Ireland

Community Rescue Service charity van destroyed in arson

Burned charity bus
Image caption The van was bought recently following a fundraising campaign

A van belonging to a charity has been destroyed in an arson attack in Ballymoney, County Antrim.

The £50,000 vehicle was recently bought by the Community Rescue Service, a volunteer service which searches for missing people.

More than half of the money to buy the van was raised by the mother of James Elliott, a 14-year-old who drowned in a river near the town last year.

Margaret Elliott said the van had helped to provide a vital service.

"I just feel really sick, with the amount of work and effort that's gone into this bus," she said.

"People have donated so much money, everybody has worked really hard for this vehicle and it has gone up in flames."

Sean McCarry of the Community Rescue Service said the attack was a huge disappointment for his team and everyone in the area.

SDLP assembly member Declan O'Loan said it was "a bizarre and shocking incident".

"The vehicle was parked in a quiet, out of the way spot and there was no reason to expect such an attack," he said.

Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay said: "It is beyond comprehension why anyone would go out in the middle of the night to destroy a vehicle which is specifically built to save people's lives.

"It is as equally reprehensible an attack as those on other emergency services."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites