Alert neighbours in Cloncannon recently thwarted a potential thief, holding him until Mountmellick Gardaí came to arrest him.
The incident happened on Tuesday night, June 25, when neighbours noticed a man acting suspiciously on the property of farmer Michael Fitzpatrick.
They approached the man and held him while a call was made to Mountmellick Garda station, and within ten minutes Gardaí were on the scene.
Sgt Ingrid Moore told the Leinster Express that they then arrested the culprit.
“He will come before the courts shortly charged with trespass,” she said.
Inspt Aidan Farrelly praised the quick response time of the local Gardaí.
“They should get high praise,” he said, also noting the bravery of Mr Fitzpatrick’s neighbours.
Mr Fitzpatrick’s property had previously been targeted by thieves more than once, according to Cllr Bobby Delaney.
He has stressed the importance of neighbourhood watch schemes.
“This man had been targeted several times before, so everyone was on alert. If anyone is going away for a day they should notify their neighbours,” he said.
The story came to light at a Joint Policing Meeting in Mountmellick last Thursday June 27, when Inspt Farrelly revealed that the burglary rate had doubled in the past three months, going from 6 to 13.
“It wa a bad time for burglaries. There have been a few detections you will be glad to know,” he told cllrs.
Sheelagh Coyle from the Community Forum advised people to note registration numbers and makes of strange vehicles.
“A man drove into my place and offered a service. I threw my eye ove rthe number plate, and he noticed, asking me if I wanted a spare one he had in his boot,” she said.
Inspt Farrelly reported that overall, crime figures had dropped by 24 per cent, to 112 incidents, for the Mountmellick area in April, May and June.
There were seven public order offences, the majority for disorderly conduct. There were ten assaults, seven of these minor Inspt Farrelly said, three “more serious”. This was a reduction of 30 per cent on the figures for January to March. There was a 4 per cent increase in the number of thefts.
Inspt Farrelly also said some local boyracers had been brought before Portlaoise District Court for “minor road traffic offences” such as loud exhausts and modified lighting.