Farming 'insider' fed information to rural crime gang
Published 02/08/2016 | 02:30
A farming ‘insider’ has been exposed as a key informant for criminal gangs operating in rural Ireland.
The major breakthrough in the battle against thugs targeting farmyards and isolated premises stemmed from a recent gardai operation that saw three men captured following a cross-country chase involving the garda Armed Response Unit and helicopters.
Phone records retrieved from the mens’ phones identified the gang’s informant as a dairy farmer in the midlands who also provided a number of technical services to farmers in the region.
He is also believed to have established partnerships with landowners in the area.
Locals were shocked by the revelation, given the unprecedented access the gang’s source had to farmers’ yards – his access included security codes along with locations of keys and locks for gates.
Gardai are hopeful that the bust is the beginning of the end of the crime spree in the region. The gang targeted in the recent operation are believed to be linked with over 100 robberies in recent years.
The operation began with over 20 gardai spending five nights staking out a pick-up that had been discovered in a remote bog location. It had been stolen from a farmer in the previous weeks.
In addition to squad cars hidden in local farmyards, a number of helicopters were on stand-by in the area before the gang blew their cover. The men were apprehended after they attempted to evade a manned garda checkpoint on a laneway leading out of the bog.