Man fined £50k for destroying historic lime kilns dating back to 1800s

Man fined £50k for destroying historic lime kilns dating back to 1800s

A 64-YEAR-OLD man has been fined £50,000 for damaging historic monuments located in Co. Antrim which date back to the 1800s.

Henry James Price, of Glenavy Road in Lisburn, recently pleaded guilty to destroying a set of 19th century lime kilns which were located on land he owned in Moneybroom.

He was sentenced at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court yesterday (January 10) for damaging protected monuments without consent, with the judge issuing the building contractor with a £50,000 fine.

The court heard that the land, which Price had purchased in 2019, contained the Moneybroom lime kilns – which were protected historical monuments.

They are thought to have been built in the 1800s, at a time when numerous limestone quarries existed in and around Lisburn.

The kilns were built to produce lime for the local agriculture and construction industries.

The court further heard that in August 2020 Price had lodged an application to secure and partially develop the Moneybroom site, but progress on that project was substantially delayed.

The following year, on April 16, 2021, Price began building works on the site, during the course of whch the kilns were destroyed.

A lime kiln in Co. Antrim similar to those which were destroyed

“On April 16, 2021, police were made aware of building works taking place in the Moneybroom Road area of Lisburn, where protected monuments were situated,” Detective Inspector Bell, PSNI lead for Heritage and Cultural Crime, explained.

“Upon reviewing the building site, it became evident to officers that the landowner had levelled land without receiving any prior consent, destroying lime kiln structures that had been in position for many years.”

He added: “Mr Price had entered a previous guilty plea to the offence on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 and been subsequently fined £50,000.

“This case demonstrates the close working relationship between police and the Historic Environment Division in the Department for Communities, in an effort to protect our heritage and investigate any reports of criminality.”

Brian McKervey, acting director of the Historic Environment Division (HED) at the Department for Communities, has welcomed the sentencing this week, claiming it recognises that “our heritage is an important and finite resource” and show an “appreciation that once gone, these sites are impossible to replace”.

“Not only did Moneybroom lime kilns, which date back to the 1800s, provide a unique example of a time when our society was undergoing massive change, they were a reminder of many aspects of our shared heritage, including the industrialisation of our landscape and society,” he added.

“HED appreciates the pressures that scheduled monument owners can face and one of our primary aims is to support them and facilitate their needs, where possible," Mr McKewrvey explained.

“However, the Department will also work with criminal justice partners to pursue prosecutions where warranted, in particular when historic monuments have been damaged or destroyed”.