Video: Ardboe man feared someone was trapped in burning van

An Ardboe man who arrived within minutes of a “deliberate” van fire on the aerodrome said onlookers feared someone was trapped inside, as the horn was blaring.

The eyewitness, who did not want to be named, captured the Saturday night blaze on video.

Van set alight in Ardboe

Van set alight in Ardboe

Angry at the latest incident “the drum”, he said: “We don’t need these types of people nor their antics in the area.”

In his description of the scene, he said: “I had noted that on the rear number plate there were 4 x 1” strips of double sided tape fixed to it which made the plate unreadable, the tape was clean and tacky so I realised that whoever crashed the van had taken the time to pull the top number plates off in a bid to disguise the van’s identity.

“They must have forgotten about the bottom plates and of course, the VIN number that hopefully the police will trace.”

He said a later look at the wreckage showed “two large containers in the back that are used to transport the IBC containers that fuel launderers favour”.

We don’t need these types of people nor their antics in the area - Ardboe local

But said he “couldn’t see or smell any diesel or any of the by-product of diesel laundering and the van didn’t burn as fiercely as it should have if it had of contained any diesel”.

It has been said locally that the names of the men - now wanted by police in connection with the incident - are known, as someone “gave them refuge”.

Police are appealing for anyone who can help with their investigation to come forward.
Inspector Amanda Kenny said: “I would ask the two men, or anyone who knows anything about this incident, to contact Cookstown Police Station on the non-emergency number 101.”

“The vehicle was a navy Transit van and it had been seen in the Kinrush Road area earlier that evening with two men inside,” she added.

“One of the men had a beard and was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. The other man was wearing a light blue shirt.”

A spokesperson for Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said they though the fire was being treated as “deliberate”.

One firefighter was treated for a sprained ankle at the scene.