'It wasn't the ideal way to move' - Family's home raided on day they signed for house
Burglary gangs are targeting new homeowners the week they move into their dream houses, stealing expensive kitchen appliances worth thousands of euro.
A family whose new house was broken into along with four others in the same estate on the same night is now warning others to be vigilant of organised burglary gangs stripping out pristine kitchen appliances.
Ciaran O'Donoghue and his partner and baby had only signed for their house in the Cois na Mara estate in Bettystown, Co Meath, on May 1 when it was burgled that night.
Their cooker and hob, which had never been used, were stolen after the burglars popped the lock on the back door.
"Four other houses were done on the same night.
"It's obviously an organised group who know exactly what they are looking for," Mr O'Donoghue told the Irish Independent.
Gardaí have confirmed five houses were broken into between 5.30pm on May 1 and 7.30am on May 2.
They are looking at the possibility that an organised group is targeting new estates because many of the homes are empty, there are few witnesses, and the appliances and white goods they steal are brand new and easily sold on.
"It wasn't the ideal way to move into your brand new home. It's a stressful enough thing without that trouble," said Mr O'Donoghue.
It comes as new research shows burglary rates increased by more than the national average in 18 counties, with eight counties showing increases in excess of 30pc.
The Phonewatch Burglary Report also shows the commuter belt was particularly badly hit, with the highest increase in the country recorded in Westmeath (44pc), while there were also significant increases in Kildare, Wicklow and Meath.