THE Enniskerry kidnapping drama, which ended happily this week, was the latest in a series of crimes involving terror and extortion in the north Wicklow area in recent months.
Since the beginning of this year alone, there have been at least four other major crimes involving armed raids on the homes of residents in the area.
Enniskerry was the scene of another crime earlier this year when a publisher was forced to hand over a €10,000 ransom to two armed men who held his wife hostage.
Only a couple of weeks prior to this a couple were held hostage in their home in Newcastle by armed and masked raiders who robbed them.
And in Greystones earlier this year, an entire family were held hostage by raiders looking for cash and valuables.
Also in Enniskerry, a lone woman was held hostage in her home by raiders who demanded money.
While the latest kidnap of Enniskerry solicitor Bill Somerville was the most dramatic incident, it underlies the vulnerability of potential kidnap victims living in a relatively isolated area.
The drama began when Mr Somerville and his wife Manon returned home and found their eldest son James (14) tied up and held by a lone gunman.
The gunman, dressed in paramilitary uniform, masked and wielding a sawn-off shotgun, demanded £50,000.
After some discussion, during which Mrs Somerville offered to take her son’s place, the raider agreed to take Mr Somerville as a hostage and he was driven away.
He was tied to a tree at the military rifle range in Kilpedder for 24 hours.
According to Mr Somerville and the gardaí, no ransom was paid.