Bury St Edmunds: Charity worker among those targeted in ‘anti-wealth’ vandalism spree

The Mercedes SLK 230 which was damaged while parked in Northgate Street. The Mercedes SLK 230 which was damaged while parked in Northgate Street.

Jon Vale, West Suffolk reporter jon.vale@archant.co.uk
Sunday, March 23, 2014
12:00 PM

A charity worker saving up for his wedding has hit out at vandals who caused £10,000 of damage to cars during a spree targeting “the rich”.

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Andrew McGowan was one of five victims of a recent spate in Bury St Edmunds that saw tyres slashed, paintwork scratched and a corrosive substance poured over vehicles.

Ashley Poultney’s Mercedes SLK 230 had to be written off as a result of the incident, while 25-year-old Mr McGowan – who only passed his driving test last year – has had to fork out for the repairs to his Ford Focus himself rather than claim it on his insurance and risk a spiralling premium.

Mr McGowan and his dad have also done their best to remove scratches rather than have them repaired professionally.

As well as having his tyres punctures, Mr McGowan’s car was scratched with anarchist symbols and writing he believes reads “rich for themselves, don’t forget the poor”.

Mr McGowan works at Cambridge-based young carers charity Centre 33, having been a young carer to his disabled parents.

“I think they’re making a very misguided political statement,” said Mr McGowan, who lives in Northgate Street.

“By targeting innocent individuals’ cars, that’s not going to get anyone on their case. We’ve got nothing to do with the decisions being made.

“We’ve had to use money we’ve put in our wedding fund to pay for the costs. It’s had a huge impact, because we really want to be putting every spare penny we’ve got towards the wedding.”

Neighbour Mr Poultney commutes to London for work every day, getting up at 5am and returning home at 8pm, and described those that did the damage as “sad”.

He added: “I work hard, I work at the weekends, and my money has been wasted. These people have made assumptions that are totally misguided.”

The incidents in Northgate Street and adjoining Cannon Street happened overnight between Saturday, March 15 and Sunday. Police are linking the attacks to an incident on the Angel Hill between 11pm on Friday, March 14 and Monday.

Anyone with information should contact Pc Charlie Birrell at Bury St Edmunds police station on 101.

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