Gardaí raid targets 'alliance' of two burglary gangs
12 stolen caravans recovered at site in 'major success'
Gardaí launched a massive raid yesterday against two gangs who have formed an alliance that is suspected of being among the biggest burglary organisations in the country.
The Traveller mob is suspected of being behind a burglary crimewave in recent weeks in the Lucan, Newcastle and Rathcoole areas of south Dublin. It is also suspected of taking part in crimes across the country.
Yesterday's raid near Rathcoole started about 7.30am and led to major road closures in the area.
Members of the targeted gang have been staying at a large field in the area and increasing numbers of people have been living at the site in recent weeks, as relatives and associates have returned to live at the location from the UK.
It has emerged there is a dispute over who owns the large field which was occupied by dozens of people when gardaí raided 30 dwellings and continued a search operation that continued until after 4pm.
A total of 12 stolen caravans were recovered by officers, who estimate the items have a total value of up to €150,000.
Detectives have established that three of these caravans were stolen in Germany with the rest stolen in the UK.
Also recovered was a valuable Ifor Williams trailer that had been stolen in Blackrock, Co Dublin, in recent months and another trailer that had been stolen in Germany.
Gardaí also recovered a safe that was being forensically examined last night.
They also recovered €30,000 worth of suspected stolen power tools and generators.
Around 100 gardaí and other officers were involved in the raid on the gang that has national and international links. However, there were no arrests in this phase.
The Armed Support Unit, backed up members of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), armed detectives from the Clondalkin district and members of the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit (SMVIU) were involved in the planned operation, which was assisted by the use of the Garda helicopter.
Social welfare and environmental protection officers were also involved with the latter agency drafted in after concerns were raised that copper was being burnt at the site.
A senior source revealed that gardaí decided to carry out the raid after getting intelligence that a number of high-end cars, which had been stolen in the Lucan area recently, may have been stored at the site.
While these vehicles were not recovered, yesterday's operation is still being deemed a "major success".
The two gangs are originally from different parts of the country. One has strong Tallaght connections while the other has a strong Co Wexford base.
Gardaí believe their alliance has given them the capabilities to embark on an organised nationwide burglary spree in which €70,000 worth of cash and jewellery was stolen in one raid in Co Cork during the week.
Gardaí were on full alert as the operation was carried out with every laneway leading to the halting site sealed off to the public.