North Antrim MLA Robin Swann “radical and tough new laws” to be introduced for people found guilty by the courts of burglary of National Health Service property
The UUP Assemblyman issued his call as he condemned the burglary at a building within the grounds of Braid Valley Hospital, which resulted in “significant damage” to computers.
Mr Swann said police had advised that there had been a number of similar incidents at the site in recent times.
“I utterly condemn this wanton vandalism at the Braid Valley and I call on constituents or anyone who has information on these burglars to give whatever information they can to the police so that these mindless thugs can be brought before the courts and convicted,” Mr Swann said.
He added: “There is the real danger that because of these burglaries, coupled with our struggling health service, that these irresponsible actions could delay treatments to people who require urgent care.
“Just as I have called in the past for tough new laws to combat those who attack our health and emergency staff, I am now calling for equally tough new laws to impose very stiff penalties – including heavy fines and lengthy jail terms – on anyone found guilty by the courts of vandalising or burgling health service property or equipment.
“The police and the courts must be given whatever resources are necessary to stamp out this mindless thuggery against our severely under-pressure NHS.”
Detectives are appealing for witnesses following the burglary which occurred sometime between 5.30pm on Wednesday evening and 8.20am on Thursday morning.
The building was entered and significant damage caused to internal doors and computers.
Detective Constable Gardiner said: “There have been a number of similar incidents at this location and we are keen to hear from anyone in the local community who has witnessed unusual activity around the site in recent weeks.
“We are appealing for anyone who witnessed this latest incident or anyone with any information that can assist us with our investigation to contact detectives in Ballymena on 101 quoting reference 161 08/02/18.
“Alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”