A 64-year-old man has been sentenced at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court today for damaging protected monuments without consent.

Henry Price was sentenced for damaging an historic monument, on Wednesday, 10th January.

Commenting, Detective Inspector Bell, Police Service of Northern Ireland lead for Heritage and Cultural Crime said: “On Friday, 16th April 2021, police were made aware of building works taking place in the Moneybroom Road area of Lisburn, where protected monuments were situated.

“Upon reviewing the building site, it became evident to officers that the landowner had levelled land without receiving any prior consent, destroying lime kiln structures that had been in position for many years.

“Mr Price had entered a previous guilty plea to the offence on Tuesday, 12th December and been subsequently fined £50,000.

“This case demonstrates the close working relationship between police and the Historic Environment Division in the Department for Communities, in an effort to protect our heritage and investigate any reports of criminality.”

Brian McKervey, acting director of the Historic Environment Division (HED) at Department for Communities, said: “We welcome the court’s recognition that our heritage is an important and finite resource and an appreciation that once gone, these sites are impossible to replace.

“Not only did Moneybroom lime kilns, which date back to the 1800s, provide a unique example of a time when our society was undergoing massive change, they were a reminder of many aspects of our shared heritage, including the industrialisation of our landscape and society.

“HED appreciates the pressures that scheduled monument owners can face and one of our primary aims is to support them and facilitate their needs, where possible.

“However, the Department will also work with criminal justice partners to pursue prosecutions where warranted, in particular when historic monuments have been damaged or destroyed”.

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said:  "An investigation into the unauthorised works and complete destruction of lime kilns at Moneybroom resulted in a file being submitted to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).  The PPS carefully considered all the available evidence submitted in the investigation file and took a decision to prosecute one individual.

"The PPS will continue to work closely with the Department of Communities Historic Environment Division (HED) and other criminal justice partners, including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to prosecute the alleged damaging of an historic monument, where the Test for Prosecution is met".

If you or anyone you know is aware of monuments being disturbed to carry out works, where consent has not been agreed, you are encouraged to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, or submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ . You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/ .

For more information on Scheduled Monuments go to https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/scheduled-historic-monuments.