Sophisticated foreign crime gangs are checking Laois garda response times says Chief Superintendent

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Crime gangs

Sophisticated foreign crime gangs operating in Laois are checking garda response times to help them carry out huge burglaries according to the Laois/Offaly Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlon. 

Chief Supt Scanlon described the sophisticated methods they have seen these organised gangs using to commit crime in Laois at the Joint Policing Committee meeting on Monday.

"We had in the beginning of this year a group of people who were going to lock up premises shops, garages late at night setting off the alarms, pumping it with foam, watching people coming and watching the reaction time to that alarm process.

"They then go back again subsequently setting it off again or assembling it in such a way that they cant reset it pouring foam into the alarms and going into the premises and stealing significant amounts," he said. 

He added that the gangs are even stealing the CCTV cameras.

Chief Supt Scanlon added that the gangs are arriving in Ireland that are wanted across Europe. 

"We have arrested people in the recent past that were wanted in Norway, Spain, Portugal, France and the United Kingdom. 

"They would fly in, coming through the airport in significant groupings, they are not from any ethnic origin, they are foreign criminals coming here committing burglaries going into premises and stealing high value items.

"We have had some successes against them, we have recovered significant quantities of property with some groups of them.

"Thankfully we have more guards out and we have established a divisional task force.

"We have significant resources to respond to a small rural community which are not depending on the one car or guard that may be based locally," he said.

Chief Supt Scanlon said that gardai in Laois are regularly dealing with three different types of burglars.

"One is in urban areas, local young people committing burglaries within their own communities.

"Then there is what we call travelling criminals, people who come through this area from bigger urban centres of Dublin, coming here committing burglaries and committing crimes when passing through," he said.

The third is the sophisticated European gangs which gardai have carried out "significant operations" against.

The Laois Joint Policing Committee statistics found that there has been a 38 percent increase in assaults in Laois in the first three months of this year compared to 2017. 

There was a 50 percent increase in criminal damage and public order offences in the county during the same time period and a 34.5 percent increase in traffic offences.

The number of public order offences and drunkenness offences in Laois is on the rise due to the improving "night time economy" according to Garda Supt John Scanlon.