When the clocks go back, it’s crime time

Garda warn­ing af­ter gang uses high-pow­ered cars in spate of bur­glar­ies

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Deb­bie McCann deb­bie.mccann@mailon­sun­day.ie

GARDAí are warn­ing the pub­lic to be ex­tra vig­i­lant af­ter a spate of bur­glar­ies this week, now that the clocks have gone back.

Sea­soned of­fi­cers have told the Mail on Sun­day that this is the most lu­cra­tive time of the year for bur­glar gangs, who take ad­van­tage of the ex­tra hour of dark­ness in which to op­er­ate.

‘It’s the same ev­ery year,’ said one source. ‘We know who they are, it is just a mat­ter of catch­ing them in the act.’

On Fri­day, gardaí were in­volved in a po­ten­tially deadly chase with a Dublin-based gang who had trav­elled to Cork in a high-pow­ered Saab with false plates.

Be­fore be­ing used, the car – which was either stolen to or­der or bought for cash – had been hid­den away from CCTV cam­eras.

The gang car­ried out at least two bur­glar­ies in the May­field area, be­fore us­ing the M8 mo­tor­way to get back to Dublin,

Gardaí be­lieve that a week ear­lier, the same gang car­ried out seven bur­glar­ies in just a four-hour pe­riod.

The ar­eas hit in­cluded Lit­tle Is­land, Cobh, Glan­mire and Bal­lyvolane, and the the car used was an Audi that could eas­ily do up to 200kmh on the mo­tor­way.

There have been over 40 bur­glar­ies in the May­field area of Cork in the last month.

Thou­sands of euro worth of cash and jew­ellery were stolen and it is thought the same gang, us­ing dif­fer­ent cars, is re­spon­si­ble.

An­other source told the MoS it is ‘that’ time of year.

‘The clocks go back and these gangs take their op­por­tu­nity. Last week­end’s bur­glar­ies in Cork took place be­tween the hours of 4pm and 9pm.

‘The gangs can now start early and op­er­ate quickly un­der the cover of dark­ness when a lot of peo­ple are still in work.

‘This par­tic­u­lar gang is trav­el­ling to Cork from Dublin in dif­fer­ent high-pow­ered cars. They are tar­get­ing homes near the mo­tor­way in Cork when the own­ers are out.’

Last week­end, the gang were caught on CCTV driv­ing a dark­coloured Audi, be­fore head­ing back up the M8 to­wards Dublin.

On Fri­day, the gang were once again spot­ted, but this time they were driv­ing a high-pow­ered Saab.

Home­own­ers in Cork are be­ing urged to re­main vig­i­lant and re­port any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity.

But it’s not just Cork af­fected. Gardaí from around the coun­try are in­volved in a gen­eral crack­down on ru­ral crime.

An or­der was is­sued last week to of­fi­cers through­out the coun­try, di­rect­ing a range of ac­tiv­i­ties to pre­vent the pre­dictable up­surge in bur­glar­ies.

The crack­down is part of the win­ter phase of Op­er­a­tion Thor.

For the re­main­der of the win­ter months re­gional de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dents will meet on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to iden­tify tar­gets.

An­other source told the MoS: ‘We know what to ex­pect, but the gangs are brazen. They will drive at crazy speeds to make good their get­away.’

A num­ber of peo­ple are al­ready in cus­tody fol­low­ing suc­cess­ful de­tec­tions, but of­fi­cers are con­tin­u­ing to hunt four Trav­eller gangs they be­lieve are re­spon­si­ble for a large bulk of bur­glar­ies around the coun­try.

‘The armed units are all on alert. It is trav­eller gangs re­spon­si­ble for the bur­glar­ies and at­tacks on the el­derly.

‘We know who they are, it is just a mat­ter of catch­ing them in the act now.’

The gangs tend to ‘spe­cialise’ in dif­fer­ent types of bur­glar­ies.

‘One gang will fo­cus on the el­derly. An­other on vans and tools. An­other on small coun­try shops and garages,’ con­tin­ued the source.

‘The cars used in the bur­glar­ies are usu­ally stolen to or­der or bought for cash, and then a va­ri­ety of false plates are used to evade de­tec­tion.

‘The cars are then stored in ar­eas with no CCTV, for ex­am­ple in hous­ing es­tates around Dublin and un­der­ground car parks in apart­ment build­ings.’

‘It’s the same ev­ery year. We know who they are’ ‘Gang trav­el­ling from Dublin in dif­fer­ent cars’ ‘They are brazen and drive at crazy speeds’

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