NEELB finds alternative transport after bus attack

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School bus with smashed window
Image caption,
Seven schools buses are off the road because of the attack

The North-Eastern Education and Library Board has said it will have to put alternative transport in place after its centre in Antrim was attacked by vandals.

Seven school buses and more than 60 windows were smashed at the premises on the Lough Road.

The damage was reported shortly before midnight on Sunday.

The board's head of property services said several were used for transporting pupils with special needs.

"It's important that these children are not mucked out of their routine and therefore it has been important to try and get alternative transport for them for Tuesday," George Wylie said.

"In total, we reckon that the cost will be in excess of £10,000.

"The board has much better use for very scarce resources, and this year they are extremely scarce, than having to deal with mindless vandalism that we have witnessed today."

Antrim mayor, Councillor Paul Michael, said his first reaction to the attack was "one of horror".

"The level of destruction that has taken place here is mind-blowing, seven school buses, every window smashed, 60 windows in the main building," he said.

Image caption,
More than 60 windows were broken at the centre

"This is an attack not only on the centre, not only on the local schools, it's an attack on the whole community and it has to be condemned."

He said the damage caused to the buses would curtail summer schemes being planned by local schools.

"There are schools here with plans, with diaries, looking ahead to the summer months and there are seven buses which are going to be out of circulation," Cllr Michael said.

"That in itself tells it own story."

A PSNI spokesperson said: "This is a callous attack with no regard for the wider community of the north east area.

"Many people will be badly affected by this attack, not only the young people who rely on the resources vandalised, but the large number of people who earn a living as part of the local education board."

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.