Bin firm 'targeted' in €1.5m arson attack on fleet of trucks
THE owner of six bin lorries destroyed in a €1.5m arson attack has decided to move his business to a high-security compound complete with round-the-clock CCTV.
At around 10pm on Friday, two men wearing balaclavas either climbed under or over the gates to a depot at Ballymount in west Dublin where a fleet of City Bin Company lorries were stationed for the night.
CCTV taken from a tyre company which is also based at the centre shows two men carrying a can of petrol and rags approaching the nine vehicles and dousing them in the flammable liquid.
Six of the company's lorries were completely destroyed in the attack, while three others were partially damaged after they were doused in petrol but failed to ignite properly.
The replacement cost of the six vehicles following the three-minute attack is €1.5m.
"There were other trucks in the depot belonging to another company but our trucks were the only ones targeted. They had to pass the other lorries to get to our ones. It was definitely a targeted attack, there's no doubt about it," co-founder and chief executive Gene Browne told the Irish Independent.
The City Bin Company, which shares the parking depot with a transport firm and a tyre company, have been based at the centre since 2005.
Mr Browne said gardai from Crumlin carried out a detailed forensic examination at the scene and are satisfied his lorries were singled out to be destroyed.
"They were quite brazen because the first truck was well up in a ball of flames while they were still messing around with the trucks beside it. The place was closed at that time and there was only passing security on site."
He said the remaining City Bin Company lorries have been relocated to a "secure location" until a new parking hub for his fleet is found.
"We won't go back into that facility. We're going to put round-the-clock security in the next place. People are working on our new security plan at the moment and part of that will be putting in our own CCTV. We were always security conscious but it was never a main driver. But in the next place we move to that will be our number one priority," he said.
Asked whether he felt his own safety was at risk given the sinister nature of the attack, he said: "I haven't really gone there yet mentally. It's certainly intimidating, that's for sure.
"The most important thing for us is that they didn't succeed and it's business as usual on tomorrow morning. We're expanding and if anything we're going to redouble our efforts now. We won't be deterred by this, I can assure you," he added.
The company announced last month that it planned to take on Greyhound Recycling in the Dublin waste collection market and has used aggressive marketing and customer incentives to attract business away from the company.
In a bid to persuade householders to switch to its service, it offered the first 5,000 customers who sign up a flat rate of €99 for bin collections in 2013.
Mr Browne founded the firm in 1997. It has operations in Galway, where it serves domestic, industrial and commercial customers, and in south Dublin.
Last month, the company announced that Middle East-based Averda is investing €15m in City Bin Company in a move that will create 35 jobs. Averda has operations in Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others.