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10 Aug 2022

Laois shoplifting increase due to 'out of towners'

Shoplifting up in Laois, burglaries down

Shoplifting is up in Laois

Out of towners coming to Portlaoise to visit “the guests of the nation” at the two local prisons account for a significant amount of shoplifting, according to the top garda in the region.

At today’s (Monday, March 4) meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Laois County Hall, Chief Superintendent John Scalcan revealed that overall property crime is down 12.8%, from 327 in the last quarter of 2017 to 285 in the last quarter of 2018.

Aggravated burglary is down from one to none; burglary is down 5% from 80 to 76; interfering with an MPV remains the same at four; robbery from the person is down 58.3%, from 12 to five; theft is down 42.5% from 87 to 50; theft from an MPV is down 41.1% from 56 to 33; theft from the person is up 200% from two to six; theft from shops is up 30.6% from 85 to 111; and there were no cases of a pedal cycle or MPV being stolen.

Chief Supt Scanlan revealed that property crime had been halved in the district over the last five years.

He said that the increase in shoplifting tended to be due to “the Celtic Tiger effect”, with more people going into shops and a significant transient population coming to town.

“There are a lot of out of towners coming to visit the ‘guests of the nation’ in Portlaoise,” he said, alluding to the presence of the two local prisons.

He said that a lot of crimes may be committed by just a few individuals, with criminals committing four or five break ins before they’re caught and sentenced.

He referred to one man arrested in Donegal who had only just flown into Ireland the day before and was part of a suite of burglaries. He left the country and later returned, and was arrested two days later. Chief Supt Scanlan said this man had secured sentences across a number of European countries for crimes.

Chief Supt Scanlan said that it would be difficult to bring the overall crime figures down any further as, citing Oscar Wilde’s famous quote that ‘I can resist anything except temptation’, he said that temptation is omnipresent.

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