Go­ing af­ter gang was what any­one would do

The Argus - - NEWS - David Grif­fin who had his car­a­van stolen.

THE man who turned his car around and fol­lowed the ve­hi­cle tow­ing his car­a­van has spo­ken about the in­ci­dent fol­low­ing the con­vic­tion of three men for han­dling stolen prop­erty.

David Grif­fin from Cam­lough was in Dun­dalk Dis­trict Court last week for the case which saw three men from Dublin en­ter not guilty pleas to the charges aris­ing out of the in­ci­dent on Jan­uary 25 2016.

He ex­plained how he ini­tially thought his wife may have given per­mis­sion to his brother to take it, but soon found out this was not the case when he con­tacted her - it was no longer in its usual spot at the side of their home.

Mr Grif­fin said: ‘I rang the po­lice (PSNI) to tell them what was hap­pen­ing and I was head­ing to­wards the mo­tor­way. Then, I was get­ting close to the border and the po­lice said that if you cross the border there is noth­ing they could do but they for­warded me through to the Gar­dai’.

All the while, Mr Grif­fin stayed four or five of cars be­hind the Isuzu, with blacked out win­dows, that was pulling his car­a­van. He had no idea who or how many was in the ve­hi­cle.

He said: ‘ The men had no idea they were be­ing fol­lowed. At the Bal­ly­mac junc­tion, I told Gar­dai where we were and they told me to stay back and I did.

‘About five min­utes later, the Gar­dai pulled up along­side me and I pulled in be­hind them’. Four squad cars, in­clud­ing one with mem­bers of the armed Re­gional Re­sponse Unit (RSU) pulled the Izusu over and Garda Fin­barr Gurhy and Pa­tri­cia Sloyan made the ar­rests.

He praised the work of the Gar­dai in mak­ing the ar­rests and bring­ing the case to court. He said: ‘ The Gar­dai were 100% I have to say. These guys were caught within 20 min­utes and they didn’t spare the re­sources in catch­ing them, with the RSU and other backup there when it was called’.

Mr Grif­fin saw it all un­folded on the hard shoul­der of the mo­tor­way, just be­fore the junc­tion 18 exit. He said he was prompted to take ac­tion af­ter his fa­ther’s car­a­van had been stolen two years be­fore. He said: ‘I was angry about what had hap­pened with my fa­ther. He never got it back and al­though Gar­dai had con­tacted him a few times to ask him to view dif­fer­ent car­a­vans they had seized, they weren’t his and his was never found.

‘What hap­pened on this day was just luck, re­ally, I was head­ing to school for a meet­ing and just hap­pened to see it. I live on a coun­try road, just 20 min­utes from Dun­dalk, and I felt that if I didn’t go af­ter the car­a­van I would prob­a­bly never see it again’.

And, re­mark­ably, Mr Grif­fin said he ‘was never afraid at any stage’ dur­ing the in­ci­dent. ‘It was in the heat of the mo­ment. Any­one would have done the same the same thing’.

Around April last year, Gar­dai were able to re­turn the car­a­van to the Griffins, but hav­ing it ‘just wasn’t the same’. Since this in­ci­dent, the fam­ily has im­proved se­cu­rity around their house, in­stalling CCTV. In the af­ter­math of the ar­rests, the fam­ily felt their home ‘ had been watched’ in the run-up to the theft.

He said that while he was pleased the case was heard rel­a­tively quickly in the dis­trict court he felt that the com­mu­nity ser­vice given to the de­fen­dant was ‘very le­nient’.

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