Ball-bearing vandals on a wrecking spree in Wrexham

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

POLICE are investigating up to 30 incidents across Wrexham of property being damaged by ball bearings that might have been fired from a catapult.

Cars, businesses, residential premises and bus shelters have all had expensive glass shattered in a widespread wrecking spree stretching from Rossett in the north to Ruabon in the south of the area.

Victims believe the small solid metal balls were shot at high velocity from a powerful catapult as vandals drove past in a car.

Incidents took place at random locations over last weekend.

The Leader first highlighted attacks on four cars over two nights on the main road through Gresford on Tuesday.

On the Saturday a car parked opposite the Texaco filling station had its side window smashed, another lost its windscreen and was hit on the bodywork and a third was also damaged.

On the Sunday a car had its rear window smashed.

One of the car owners, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I have since been told by the police that there have been 30 similar incidents across Wrexham and that ball bearings fired from catapults have done the damage.”

In another story yesterday, the Leader revealed that a number of bus shelters had also been targeted over the weekend.

A total of eight shelters were damaged, including two in Ruabon and another in Rhostyllen.

In each case large glass panes were shattered leaving the area where passengers stand littered with sharp fragments before repairs were made.

A spokesman for ClearChannel, the company which maintains the shelters, said: “Eight of our bus shelters were vandalised in the Wrexham area this weekend.

“There has been a spree and we believe it was someone with a ball bearing gun. They’ve hit one or two panels in each shelter.

“We spent some of Monday sweeping up and all of Tuesday re-fitting glass.”

The Leader has learned the wreckers also homed in on Rossett, attacking at least two properties.

One was the kitchen fittings studio Holt Cabinets on the main Chester Road, where a ball bearing was left lodged between two layers of glass in a large double-glazed display window. The top layer has fragmented but is still intact.

Owner Andy Suckley said: “I am not sure exactly when it was done but I think it must have been over the weekend or possibly early on Monday.

“The ball bearing has gone through the top layer of glass but didn’t penetrate the second layer and has just slid down between the two. It’s about eight or 10mms in diameter and must have come with some force, maybe from a catapult.

“It must have been somebody just driving past taking pot-shots but it could have been dangerous if they had hit someone.

“The window will probably cost about £70 or £80 to replace.”

Just a few doors away from Mr Suckley’s premises a private cottage also appears to have taken a hit from a ball bearing which has left a crack in the front window.

Insp Alex Goss of North Wales Police would not confirm the number of incidents being looked into by officers.

“This is a live investigation and we are looking into a number of cases of criminal damage involving ball bearings,” he said.

“We have several lines of inquiry and one person has been arrested and is currently on police bail.

“We are seeking other people who may have been involved.”

Insp Goss stressed no firearms had been used and agreed it was possible a catapult could have been used to fire the ball bearings.

Anyone who may have witnessed any of these incidents or who may have information is urged to contact officers at Wrexham Police Station on 101, or 0845 6071001 (Welsh line), 0845 6071002 (English line) or Crimestoppers Wales on 0800 555111.

See full story in the Leader

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