A rural butcher admits he was left scared after a masked man entered his shop, smashed it up with a weapon and then doused the premises in petrol.
Dermot Moore, who owns the shop in Rathdrum, Wicklow, said he had fears the incident could have been much more serious if the petrol had been ignited as two people live over the shop and they were there asleep at the time of the attack.
“The two men upstairs would not have got out, there’s no question,” he told the Sunday World this week.
The entire attack at his shop in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, has been caught on a security video. The footage shows the raider smashing the front door panel and then climbing in to the shop.
Using a pick-axe handle or baseball bat, the raider then smashes the glass on the display freezers, showering the area in glass.
After a few seconds he leans back out the front door to get a petrol canister.
He is then seen on the video pouring petrol over the cabinets and the floor.
He then climbs out without making any apparent attempt to set the fuel alight.
“Presumably the intention was when I came back in I was going to set myself alight or something like a spark would set it off,” said Dermot.
“There’s two men who live upstairs and they would have been burned in their beds, apart from me being done as well,” he added.
It’s not the first time someone has targeted his business during the busy run-up to Christmas.
“The intention, I think, was to put me out of business. I had a previous thing in 2015 when they broke in in December and took my equipment, trying to it me put of business for Christmas,” he explained.
He believes someone “has taken offence” to his business doing well.
“Christmas is the busiest time here – it’s a quiet country butcher’s, there’s not much happening, so you really do most of your business at Christmas,” he said.
The attack came just minutes after Dermot had finished preparatory work to be ready to open on Wednesday, December 20.
“I was doing the after-shift, getting the geese ready and the spiced beef and a few bits. I stayed here until 12.10pm, and at 12.25pm they came through the window, 15 minutes after I left,” he said.
“When I came back in after the guards rang me I thought, ‘here we go again at Christmas time’.”
“When I realised there was petrol all over the floor and how close I came to being killed, that’s very, very scary,” he said.
“I went straight back in and a friend came out to me and we got cleaned up and got open again the next morning.
“I was able to patch up the counters enough and turn them back on.”
“They didn’t go near my main stock, they didn’t go near my cash or didn’t try to rob anything.
“I said to my friend I could either go packing shelves or I can clean up and keep going. I chose to clean up and keep going.
“I’m with the Scouts and you’d be dealing with anti-bullying and that kind of stuff. So I took that approach, I’m not going to be bullied,” said Dermot.