These are the images maintenance workers from Longford Town Council were faced with last week after vandals broke into and ransacked three houses, leaving the local authority with a €10,000 clean up bill.
The three units, all of which are located inside the Springlawn housing estate, sustained substantial water damage as thieves ripped copper cylinders from walls, smashed their way through staircases and damaged a string of valuable household items.
One of the houses was shown to a prospective tenant barely 24 hours before it was targeted.
To add to their woes, Town Council chiefs are faced with picking up most, or all, of the refurbishment costs after a request to general insurance group Irish Public Bodies was denied.
Speaking at last week’s special housing meeting, Cllr Denis Hughes urged the council to “leave no stone unturned” in identifying those responsible.
“I just don’t think it is good enough for our lads to be going out and leaving houses in pristine condition and then the following morning to see everything is gone out of them. It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said.
Details of the string of break-ins also come just weeks after the council announced a 22 per cent drop in its housing maintenance budget for 2013.
In an attempt to counteract the problem, council staff plan on holding fresh talks with both the Springlawn estate manager and local gardai.
Despite those attempts, a number of councillors have this week led calls for a review of the social housing system.
Staff officer Suzanne Duffy said one of the houses had been provisionally earmarked for a pregnant woman who was expecting her first child in two weeks time. Thanks to the efforts of the council’s housing staff however, she said that individual is now living in the property.