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Flags stolen from Orange hall for the second time in a week

Ballyneal Orange Hall was also the target of an attempted arson attack in May

POLICE have confirmed they are treating the theft of flags from a County Derry Orange hall overnight as a hate crime.

Two flags were taken from Ballyneal Orange Hall near Moneymore between 1am and 9am this morning (Saturday, July 9). The theft follows a similar incident on Saturday July 3 when a Union flag and a Somme remembrance flag were stolen.

Speaking after the July 3 theft, an Orange Order spokesman said they believed the hall was being targeted because of its isolated location.

 "Due to its rural and isolated location, Ballyneal hall would be regarded as an easy target for the intolerant culprits wishing to engage in such low life criminality. Nonetheless, this does not excuse their misdemeanours under the cover of darkness."

Sergeant Luke Moyne said they wanted to hear from anyone who had information on the latest theft.

"It has been reported that two flags were removed from the Orange hall at Brookmount Road sometime between 1am and 9 am on Saturday July 9. This is the latest in a number of incidents recently in which flags have been taken from this location."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police in Magherafelt on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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