Gardaí now examining CCTV after gang used digger in McDonald's break-in
A gang tried to use a digger to smash their way into a popular McDonald's outlet in Limerick.
The raiders used the stolen JCB shortly after 2.30am yesterday in a bid to force their way into the fast-food outlet to rob its safe and night takings.
The raid - which had similarities to the notorious attack on a Lidl outlet in Dublin at the height of Storm Emma - targeted the McDonald's restaurant at Castletroy Shopping Centre.
In a tweet, Lidl Ireland posted to McDonald's: "Hope you're okay hun".
Located just off the Dublin Road, the outlet is one of the most successful McDonald's outlets in Munster and enjoys a major passing trade thanks to the nearby shopping centre and the University of Limerick.
Gardaí were alerted and raced to the scene.
It is understood the raiders failed to access the safe before gardaí arrived.
A number of gang members then fled the scene when they realised gardaí were en route.
The heavy front-loader was abandoned and left at the scene, partly wedged in the restaurant front door.
A substantial amount of damage was caused to the McDonald's outlet.
The restaurant has been sealed off by gardaí pending a full examination by technical experts.
It is expected to remain closed for some time pending repairs.
The restaurant will undergo a full engineering inspection to determine the scale of the structural damage caused.
Gardaí are currently examining CCTV security camera footage from the McDonald's outlet as well as retail premises in the nearby shopping centre in a bid to identify the raiders.