A notorious duo nicknamed ‘The Little and Large crew' have been busted by detectives investigating seven armed robberies in Dublin city centre since Christmas.
The suspects who are both aged in their 30s were arrested by armed gardai after a three-day surveillance operation in the south city.
The arrests happened late on Wednesday night in a special operation in which detectives recovered two high-quality imitation firearms — a fake Glock pistol and sawn-off shotgun.
Officers believe the criminals used these fake weapons during their armed robbery spree.
Both suspects — who are from south inner city Dublin — remained in custody at Pearse Street Garda Station last night.
Senior sources say that they got their nicknames because one of the suspects is 6ft 4in in height and his junior sidekick stands at just 5ft 7in.
Their robbery spree started on December 22 and was ongoing until last weekend.
The men were arrested separately by armed detectives attached to Pearse Street and Kevin Street Garda Stations.
One of the criminals was arrested as he walked on Aungier Street while the other was picked up a short time later in his girlfriend's home at a flats complex off the same street.
It was at this property that officers found the imitation firearms which have been used to terrify employees of shops in the south city over the past fortnight.
During the raid, gardai also recovered clothing that they believe the suspects were wearing during the robberies.
A source explained: “These fellas were cute enough in their own way.
“For example, one of them wore an orange reversible jacket during some of the robberies but as soon as he went back out on the street, he would turn the jacket inside out and it was black in colour. They generally covered their faces with scarves and wore gloves.”
The Herald has learned that the pair have targeted convenience stores and off-licences at south city locations including St Andrew's Street, Aungier Street, Bride Street, South William Street, Dame Street and South Leinster Street.
Sources say that they have been using their “scarily realistic” imitation firearms to threaten staff and made off with an average of €400 in cash from each robbery.
It is suspected that the duo have then been using the cash to feed their heroin addictions.