independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Gangs targeting pensioners' homes

A spate of aggravated burglaries have been carried out on older people's homes in Donegal

An elderly woman was pushed to the ground while her rural home was ransacked for the second time in two months, it has emerged.

The 78-year-old Donegal pensioner was targeted on Saturday night by three hooded men who fled in the direction of Pettigo, close to the border with Northern Ireland.

A spate of aggravated burglaries have been carried out on older people across the county in recent weeks, including on a 96-year-old woman punched and gagged in her home near Buncrana last weekend.

Similar attacks have also happened in Raphoe, Donegal town and Convoy.

Sinn Fein's Padraig MacLochlainn said gangs are putting terror in pensioners across the north west, and appealed to householders not to keep large sums of money in their home.

"Clearly, we have different gangs of scumbags who are targeting the most vulnerable of people in their home," the TD said.

"That's not a term I like, but if the shoe fits. They are willing to punch a 96-year-old woman and leave her to die, only for she hit a panic alarm button."

Mr MacLochlainn said some of the attacks have been carried out by a cross border gang. "The gardai and the PNSI have a joint responsibility protect us," he added.

Gardai in Ballyshannon have appealed for information on the latest incident, which happened shortly after 10pm in the townland Belault on the outskirts of Pettigo. Three thieves, aged in their 20s, threw the woman to the ground and raided her home before they fled in a car with cash.

The victim made her way to the road and flagged down a passing motorist who took her to a neighbour's house and raised the alarm.

Press Association

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