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Burglaries up in cities as gangs can't reach rural areas

  

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A surge in burglaries in cities and towns has been blamed on organised crime gangs being unable to target rural areas because of Operation Fanacht checkpoints mounted by gardaí over the Covid-19 crisis.

Gardaí mounted 150 permanent checkpoints and more than 500 mobile patrols to ensure movement restrictions were adhered to because of the virus.

However, the checkpoints inadvertently uncovered a number of Road Traffic Act and drug-related offences.

Gardaí believe the monitoring of motorways and major access routes nationwide has significantly interrupted the movement of criminal gangs.

However, there has been a reported surge in burglaries in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

Communities have been urged to report any suspicious activity to gardaí following a spate of break-ins nationwide with criminals believed to be targeting homes while families exercise or go shopping during Covid-19 lockdowns.

In Cork, a number of break-ins were reported across parts of the city - with even commercial premises being targeted.

Other burglaries have been reported in Dublin, Limerick, Kildare and Tipperary.

Gardaí however have made a number of arrests - aided by extra officer numbers.

One Garda source said that while the rate of winter/spring burglaries fell by 50pc from 2015 to 2019 thanks to the ongoing impact of Operation Thor - down from 12,057 to 5,997 - there is concern that home break-ins increased by 20pc compared to summer/autumn.

Cork TD Thomas Gould warned communities need to support gardaí in cracking down on criminals cruelly exploiting the pandemic.

"I am asking the gardaí to adopt a zero-tolerance approach," he said.

Irish Independent