'Sinister' intimidation campaign to stop sale of repossessed homes
Published 04/09/2014 | 15:35
Properties have been sabotaged and estate agency staff reportedly assaulted after houses were listed for sale having been seized from their previous owners.
Attacks on one property in Co Tyrone are said to have caused its value to plummet by tens of thousands of pounds.
'Not for sale' was scrawled across the front of the house in Trillick and windows were previously smashed.
The large detached dwelling is due to go under the hammer next week with a guide price of just £45,000.
Boasting four bedrooms and three reception rooms, it is said to be comparable to another in the area valued at £295,000.
Omagh DUP councillor Charles Chittick said he was disgusted at reports of intimidation. "This is absolutely scandalous," he said.
"Technically most of these properties are owned by the bank who are trying to sell them to balance their books.
"This activity is outrageous. In a normal society that should never take place and if you look into the background you'll find a sinister element.
"Such bully-boys have held this society to ransom for 40 years and whoever is doing it are completely wrong and I condemn it completely."
Roy Little, of BRG Gibson Auctions, said attempts to prevent such houses being sold on had become "almost a business" in parts of Tyrone.
"Most of the difficulty I have would be down in and around Omagh and that general area," he said.
Last week, he said, he required a four-vehicle police escort when inspecting a house in Crossmaglen.
Mr Little told the Tyrone Herald that along with south Armagh, the Omagh area had become extremely hostile over the selling of repossessed properties.
He said the Killyfuddy Road house "has been subject to a campaign".
He added: "At the end of the day, we don't get paid until we sell these houses, so we'll sell them to anyone.
"Our ideal situation is that we get the thing sold so we don't have to keep going back to it."
The Trillick property is one of dozens which will feature at a property auction organised by BRG Gibson in the Stormont Hotel in Belfast next Tuesday evening.
The company is one of Northern Ireland's leading auctioneers.
A sprawling four-bedroom house in Trillick outside Omagh is among a number of repossessed homes being targeted.
It is set to be auctioned off with a guide price of just £45,000 but potential buyers have been warned off.
DUP councillor Charles Chittick described those behind the campaign as "sinister".
He added: "Such bully-boys have held this society to ransom for 40 years and whoever is doing it are completely wrong and I condemn it completely."