Friday 9 December 2016

Gardaí arrest 45 in rural raids as Operation Thor hits gang crime

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

Extra funding: Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Caroline Quinn
Extra funding: Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Caroline Quinn

Gardaí arrested 45 people yesterday in a massive swoop designed to disrupt crime and round up wanted criminals.

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The arrests all took place in the Co Carlow area as part of an operation codenamed Thor.

A number of searches of dwellings were carried out by teams deployed at different locations.

The suspects were arrested on a range of charges, ranging from the sale and supply of drugs and intoxication in a public place.

A total of 28 of those arrested were taken in on the back of existing arrest warrants. Officers also seized four vehicles.

Operation Thor targets have been monitored using checkpoints in recent days, while crime prevention leaflets have been handed out to increase the awareness of protection of personal property and possessions.

Seventy gardaí were involved in the raids, including local personnel, the mounted unit, the dog unit and armed members of the regional support unit.

They were also supported by 50 trainees from the Garda College in Templemore.

Chief Supt Dominic Hayes, head of the Carlow-Kilkenny division, said the trainees were "providing an extra visible presence while gaining valuable learning experience regarding the running of a major policing operation".

Chief Supt Hayes added: "They also got to observe the execution of warrants, arrests of suspects, prisoner management, conducting of checkpoints and community engagement."

Burglary rates have dropped by more than a third since Thor was launched last November.

The operation has resulted in a decrease of 34pc in burglaries over the past 10 months.

Residential break-ins are down by 35pc to 10,853 incidents, while burglaries from commercial premises have fallen by 26pc to 3,951 crimes, when compared with the equivalent period in 2014-15.

This follows a major garda crackdown that has so far led to 2,545 arrests of suspects and 2,932 criminal charges in connection with burglary, aggravated burglary and possession of related items.

Garda activity has included more than 30,000 patrols, 16,000 searches, 38,000 checkpoints and 39,000 intelligence reports.

The latest figures, released last night by the Garda, follow on from statistics published by the CSO in June, confirming there had been 36pc less burglaries in the first three months of this year than during the corresponding period last year, and an 18pc drop for the year up to the end of March.

After their publication, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced she had secured an extra €55m in funding for concentrated policing to target gang-related crime, including ongoing support for Thor, as well as continued support for measures against terrorism.

The Tánaiste said last night that while the latest figures represented a substantial improvement, every burglary was a terrifying experience and there could be no let-up in any garda activity against the burglars.

"We are determined to protect communities in rural and urban areas, who have been the victims of these crimes through targeted and intensive policing," she said.

Irish Independent

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