Wednesday 17 October 2018

Gang raid family entertainment centre after cutting hole in disability toilet

LeisureMax and inset, the damage done to the premises
LeisureMax and inset, the damage done to the premises
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

CCTV footage has captured the moment a gang raided a family entertainment centre after cutting a hole through the wall of a disability toilet.

The incident happened at Leisure Max in Co Wexford last Sunday between the hours of 12am and 1.30am.

Aileen Whelan, who runs the popular entertainment centre with her husband, says there are 56 security cameras on the premises and the thieves managed to identify the one area not covered by CCTV.

"Basically what they did was they went through the disability toilet, where there would be no sensor and no CCTV. They broke into the back of the toilet, burst the pipes in the wall and got in that way," Aileen told Independent.ie.

Damage done to the toilet
Damage done to the toilet

It is believed that an organised crime gang was behind the "sophisticated" burglary.

Gardaí investigating have obtained DNA from one of the suspects at the scene.

The gangsters made way with a substantial amount of money after robbing the poker machines which had just been filled two days beforehand.

They were on the premises for nearly two hours and managed to avoid all the security sensors installed.

Aileen Whelan suspects the gang used an angle grinder to break through the wall
Aileen Whelan suspects the gang used an angle grinder to break through the wall

"We closed up around ten o'clock the night before and I went in at around ten past seven that morning to catch up on work," Aileen said.

"I put the key in the front door and I noticed there was loads of rubbish blowing around. I walked around the corner and that's when I noticed the big hole in the wall. They had to have used an angle grinder or something, it was absolutely unbelievable."

Aileen and her husband Adrian have spent up to €65,000 installing top of the range CCTV on the premises as there have been a number of burglaries over the years.

She says they are now going to upgrade their security to ensure all areas of Leisure Max are monitored 24/7.

"These guys were definitely professional. The guards have got their footprints and also traces of DNA. They were millimetres from setting off the sensors and I'd nearly believe they had marked out where to cut through the wall from the inside," Aileen said.

A garda spokesman said investigations are ongoing.

This is the second professional robbery to happen at a Wexford entertainment centre in the last two months.

A criminal gang stole an estimated €70,000 in cash and caused €270,000 worth of damage to Courtown Amusement Centre at Courtown Harbour in February.

The gang involved cut wires at an Eir phone site in the area to disconnect the alarm system at the major amusement centre.

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