Saturday 3 December 2016

Taxi driver 'sickened' after he's targeted in five attacks by vandals

Published 01/03/2016 | 07:22

CCTV showing the arson attack on the taxi outside the home of Declan Walsh
CCTV showing the arson attack on the taxi outside the home of Declan Walsh
Skerries taxi driver Declan Walsh who suffered several attacks on his taxi outside his home

A taxi operator whose cars have been repeatedly vandalised for over a year has told how his life has become unbearable.

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Skerries man Declan Walsh runs a small cab business in the town. He has installed security cameras, as well as automatic lights and alarms at his home, but the attacks continue.

Last Saturday vandals struck again and burned out his car outside his house.

"It all started on January 15 last year. I had a Seat Alhambra at the time and I left it in the car park of a pub overnight and when I went back to it there was sugar all around the fuel cap.

Tank

"Someone had poured sugar into the tank and it cost me to get the tank removed and cleaned out and put back in," Mr Walsh told the Herald.

"A month later I got a call from one of the other drivers asking me had I seen my car. When I went out to the front I could see that all the tyres had been slashed and there was a can of paint thrown over it."

Seven month passed without incident before the attacks escalated.

"I heard the car alarm going off and when I went out to the car every window except the windscreen had been smashed and two cans of paint had been thrown into it, destroying the front and back seats.

"It was going to cost too much to fix so the insurance company wrote it off and I had to buy another car," Mr Walsh said.

He bought a 05 Mercedes S320 last November, and six weeks ago an attempt was made to burn it out.

CCTV images show a young man, wearing a hoodie, coming into the driveway and breaking a rear passenger fly window. He is seen pouring a flammable liquid into the car and igniting it.

"I couldn't claim off the insurance again because my premium would go up by around €10,000 so I got second-hand parts, such as seats and a roof liner and door card and had them fitted and the car valeted," said Mr Walsh.

"But on Saturday night I had the car outside the house and someone set it alight again, and this time it was destroyed. I am absolutely sickened, and it is taking its toll financially and personally.

"Someone wants me off the road and ruin me financially. It has affected my family life too. My 14-year-old daughter can't come and stay with me any more because her mother is nervous about her safety, and that is perfectly understandable," he said.

Gardai are following definite leads as well as making progress with CCTV footage at Mr Walsh's house in the Mourne View estate.

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