The guilty pleas of three Laois brothers accused of possession of stolen farm machinery and equipment has been hailed as a “significant breakthrough” in the fight against rural crime in the midland region.
Thomas McInerney (39) of Twomey Park, Mountmellick, William McInerney (35) of Newline Close, Mountrath and Gerard McInerney (38) of Woodbrook, Mountrath, appeared before Portlaoise Circuit Criminal Court earlier this month faced with 27 separate counts of possession of stolen property (nine each).
All three men, who have been in custody since their arrest last July, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, among which included: a jeep, a trailer, a bolt cutter, a hacksaw, a nail bar, wire cutters, snips and a wooden claw hammer.
The men, currently remanded in custody, are expected to be sentenced at a hearing in June when victim impact statements will be heard.
John Scanlon, chief superintendent in Portlaoise, described the guilty pleas as a significant outcome for rural communities.
“It’s a significant outcome for the safety and security of the farming population throughout the midlands, down into Munster, north Tipperary and up as far as Kildare,” he said.
“A significant amount of garda time and resources were invested in the operation which went on for a number of months. We are satisfied with the outcome of the investigation,” he added.