Police investigating mystery appearance of giant boulders on North Down's golden mile

'Drivers, especially those who are not familiar with the road should take great care'

The mystery appearance of huge boulders dumped along a road one of Northern Ireland's wealthiest areas has caused outrage from residents and visitors.

Warren Road in Donaghadee hugs the coastline on the Ards Peninsula and is referred to as the Golden Mile, given the million pound properties it boasts.

But this week locals and visitors have been left perplexed by the appearance of eight massive boulders near a secluded beach popular with families, dog walkers and regular cold water swimmers.
And now the PSNI and the Department for Infrastructure are investigating the the giant rocks appeared on public land on the afternoon of December 4 and who was responsible for putting them there.

The boulders were transported to the area by tractor and trailer and positioned on the grass and tarmac verge on the town-bound carriageway, the responsibility for which lies with the Department of Infrastructure.

Local councillor Janice McArthur, said: "I have reported the presence of these boulders to the DFI. They were not placed by the DFI who have already done a site visit. They have reported the siting of the boulders to the PSNI with a Crime Number of 1063 and this was reported on 04/01/2024. They would encourage the public to do likewise. These must be removed as they are a road safety hazard and if necessary the DFI must get heavy lifting machinery in to do so."

A number of bollards with reflective strips have now been set beside the boulders to allow them to be highlighted to drivers at night.

One Donaghadee resident told Belfast Live: "There has to be a better solution than this if the issue is about parking on the roadside. The boulders are huge, there is no warning that they're on the very edge of the roadside and they're not clearly visible in the dark because there's not much street lighting on that part of the road.

"By day the area is often used for parking by a number of people who use the coastal path to walk to Orlock and it's used by some who visit the beach which is popular with the cold water swimming groups.
"The grass verge and the footpath area where these boulders have been placed is the responsibility of the Department of Infrastructure so we'll wait to hear who placed them there and when they'll be removed.

"If there's a problem with parking on that part of the road then the department should be able to help find a better solution for those being impacted. In the meantime drivers, especially those who are not familiar with the road, should take great care."

A spokesperson for the DFI said: “The Department became aware of boulders placed at the side of Warren Rd, Donaghadee early yesterday afternoon.

"The site was made safe whilst we determine the person or persons responsible, at which stage appropriate enforcement action will be taken. The PSNI have also been notified.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council, have urged the public to contact the police with any information they have about the situation.

A spokesperson said: "DfI is responsible for the walkway and officers have been out to inspect the site so they would be best placed to comment on the proposed next steps re removal.

"The PSNI is aware of the incident and will be investigating. The Council would encourage members of the public to share any information they have with the PSNI using the crime number provided on the 101 number."

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