independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Gardai quiz three men on rural burglary

GARDAI have detained three burglary suspects as part of a massive clampdown on rural crime.

The men, all with addresses in Yorkshire, are suspected members of an English Traveller gang now based in Derry.

Gardai believe the men were on a scouting mission in a rural area near the town of Ramelton, Co Donegal, when they were detained. None of the men had any identification.

The suspects were not formally arrested but went voluntarily to Letterkenny garda station for questioning. They were released without charge.

The men gave addresses in York and Pontefract and were driving an English-registered car. The detentions are being seen as significant as associates of the same Yorkshire gang are suspected of raiding eight homes in Convoy and Raphoe in a four-hour period 12 days ago.

The Irish Independent understands that more than a dozen cars have been stopped and searched in the town of Raphoe alone in the past 24 hours, with searches in other border towns.

Meanwhile, alarm companies are being "inundated" by pensioners and their families seeking information about panic buttons.

The Government's U-turn on a decision to cut grants for personal security alarms has put the scheme into the spotlight. It has brought it to the attention of many people who had not realised the grant existed.

Muintir na Tire distributes around half of all personal alarms to elderly people through the government scheme. It is fielding hundreds of calls from concerned people.

Development officer James O'Neill said the company was focusing a campaign to recycle personal alarms from elderly people who may have gone into full-time care or who have died.

"There are a large number of alarms sitting in chests of drawers around the country and we are launching a campaign to create awareness," explained Mr O'Neill.

The Senior Alert scheme is not taking new applications for grant assistance to purchase personal alarms again until February 1.

However, many pensioners are opting not to wait for the grant and are buying privately.

Irish Independent

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