Garda 'feared for his life' as rural crime gang in stolen jeep rammed squad car
Gardai had been watching a stolen Mitsubishi crew cab jeep and a trailer which were secreted in a remote bog
Thefts from farms are “an attack on the fabric of rural society”, Judge Keenan Johnson told a sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court today.
He was speaking during the sentencing hearing of three family members who were detected in a stolen jeep in rural Co Laois during a major operation involving the garda Armed Support Unit, the Garda National Surveillance Unit, local Detectives and the Air Support Unit.
Laois residents Thomas McInerney(41) Twomey Park, Mountmellick, his brother Gerard McInerney(39) Moonbaun Close, Mountrath and their cousin William McInerney(37), Newline Close, Mountrath all admitted to possessing stolen property at Cloncourse, Co Laois on July 12, 2016.
The three men have been in custody since their arrest. A number of garda were injured during their apprehension when an unmarked garda car and an Armed Response Unit car were rammed by a jeep and written off, the court was told.
Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlan said a gardai had been watching a stolen Mitsubishi crew cab jeep and a trailer which were secreted in a remote bog at Cloncourse near Mountrath. On the night of July 11, two cars approached through a farm in two vehicles with lights off as gardai looked on.
At around 12.40am three men attached the jeep to the trailer and as they attempted to leave the bog, Gardai blocked their path and activated their lights and sirens. The jeep, which was fitted with bull bars, revved its engine and attempted to crash through the two garda cars. The three men were arrested nearby a short time later.
“All the accused had balaclavas on alighting from the vehicle and gloves,” said Chief Supt Scanlan.
He said the jeep had been stolen during a burglary at a farm in Ballacolla, Co Laois in June of 2016. Other items recovered at the scene had been stolen from five farms in Co Laois and Tipperary.