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24/07/2021

Laois-Offaly Gardaí mount huge operation in search of prolific burglary gang

RTÉ Prime Time goes on patrol with Laois-Offaly Gardaí

Laois-Offaly Gardaí mount huge operation in search of prolific burglary gang

Laois-Offaly Gardaí mount huge operation in search of prolific burglary gang

A large Laois-Offaly garda operation tackling a crime gang operating in the two counties has featured on RTE's Prime Time series.

The show revealed that the new Crime Task Force set up last year to tackle crime gangs after serious aggravated burglaries in Offaly, cover hundreds of kilometres in a single night to catch just one gang of thieves.

SEE ALSO: Tullamore burglary prompts gardaí into helicopter manhunt

Prime Time's Fran McNulty was given direct access to the operation carried out by detectives and uniformed gardaí mounted from Portlaoise Garda Station.

During a briefing beforehand, Gardaí were told that two recent burglaries had taken place in which thieves broke in through roofs and disabled alarms. The meeting was told that a Romanian gang may have been involved.

Prime Time accompanied Garda Alan Dunford and Sgt Mark O'Connell on the subsequent operation to Ballacolla in South Laois where they were due to set up a checkpoint near a motorway service station. 

Sgt O'Connell said these gangs tend not to use the main routes other than the motorway network but catching them demands a lot of work and resources.

"We have three or four cars out tonight looking for one gang covering hundreds of kilometres," said Sgt O'Connell. 

To see the full report on the RTÉ Player click here

Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said every resource was being made available to the Gardaí. He agreed with a call from the Director of Public Prosecution for sentencing guidelines for judges when it comes to burglary.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath called for a three strike policy on the same programme. 

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