'Every day we come down, the place could be destroyed'
Livestock feed supplier David Casey believes rural crime has escalated since the opening of the motorways and the closure of Garda stations.
Two months ago a four-man gang broke into his yard searching for tools. When they found they had tripped a laser beam alarm, they ran off.
"There were four of them - two were middle-aged and the other two were younger men - and they came in a black Passat estate car around 3am, which was captured on the CCTV system," said Mr Casey.
"One of them was armed with a five foot-long iron bar and they all wore hair nets to disguise themselves - we were lucky they ran off."
The businessman believes that this was the same gang responsible for the theft of tools and equipment worth over €4,000 in February 2013.
The thieves caused €1,000 of damage when they used mobile angle grinders to cut steel doors on the warehouse and dumped the CCTV recorder in a tank of water.
"They filled a wheelbarrow with plasma cutters, welders, angle grinders and other tools, which they then pushed across the road and loaded into a waiting van," the businessman added. In a separate incident vandals caused extensive damage when they poured diesel around the warehouse.
"The problem with crime has definitely gotten worse around here since Abbeyleix Garda Station began closing at night.
"Every day we come down to open up, we don't know if the place is going to be destroyed."
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