Monday 22 May 2017

Living in fear

A recent armed Garda checkpoint in Dromore West
A recent armed Garda checkpoint in Dromore West

Dromore west family recount the horrific ordeal they endured at the hands of intruders, writes Paul Deering

THE HUSBAND of a woman who was locked in a bedroom during a raid at her home in Dromore West said: "The whole place is now living in fear."

The man, who did not wish to be named told The Sligo Champion: "We've no idea how they got into the house. "The front and back doors were locked. "But the Gardai told us you'd be surprised at how these people are getting in."

One of the first things the three-man gang demanded to know was whether her husband would be home from Mass soon.

In a bid to try to get them out the terrified woman said he was expected any minute.

The house was just one of a number targeted in the area during Mass time.

The mother-of-three was unable to accompany her husband and children to church that evening. She was watching television in her home. The last thing she expected was to be confronted by three angry men with their faces covered.

She heard a noise and thought nothing of it but a couple of minutes later she saw a shadow and went to investigate.

She was grabbed by the men before demands were made for money.

A downstairs room was ransacked as they gang searched for cash.

The husband said: "They also wanted jewellery but we're not the type of people who would have expensive items like that in our house."

Armed with what looked like half a pool cue the gang forced his wife upstairs.

She was so afraid she begged them not to hurt her.

They didn't hit her but they locked her into a bedroom before fleeing with a small amount of cash.

After about ten minutes, she managed to get out and raise the alarm. Gardai believe the gang fled in the direction of County Roscommon where other break-ins took place.

A spate of burglaries over the past month in an area stretching from Dromore West to Culleens has left the local community shattered.

The householder said: "There was a time when you would leave your doors unlocked but there's no one calling around now to a neighbour's house and just simply walking in the back door."

He has a CCTV system at his house and while the images are good, it would be difficult to make out the gang.

"Their faces were fully covered with balaclavas. "They came well prepared," he added. The householder has the height of praise for the efforts being made by Gardai to apprehend those responsible.

He singles out Easkey-based Garda Derek McDonald for particular praise.

"He's been working day and night to try to get them."

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