Damage From North's Rioting Tops £400K

It has been claimed this morning that the cost of replacing a bus taken from a female bus driver in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim and burned by rioters will be as much as £200,000.

The woman was shaken but uninjured after she was dragged from her vehicle by a gang of masked men yesterday evening during a second night of rioting in Newtownabbey.

There were no passengers on her bus when it was hijacked near Cloughfern Corner and the driver did not know that bus services had been suspended at about 7pm because of the ongoing trouble and was probably returning the bus to the nearby depot at Glenville Road, also Newtownabbey.

Police then set up a heavy presence in the area even though they came under fire from the mob with petrol bombs and other missiles.

While last night's trouble was significantly less intense than Monday night's children as young as nine were involved in this second night of loyalist rioting in and around Newtownabbey's Rathcoole estate.

While the first outbreak of violence was said to have caused damage estimated at £200,000 to repair, with six cars and a bus burnt out as 200 youths were marshalled by the loyalist paramilitaries, it has been been claimed last night cost just as much.

A spokesman for Translink told BBC Radio Ulster this morning that the almost 'brand new' bus destroyed last night would itself cost £200,000 to replace.

Billy Gilpin said the bus which was destroyed on Tuesday night had been recently bought for £200,000, which brings the bill to at least £400,000 for the two nights of UVF orchestrated violence.

This does not take into account the cost of operating the PSNI helicopter or the additional cost of bringing in around 150 police officers to quell four hours of rioting on Monday evening and into early Tuesday. Overall costs are therefore likely to top a half million pounds.


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