Security guard locked in boot for nine hours
A gang beat and locked a security guard in the boot of his own car for nine hours after they stole diesel and tools from an Irish Rail compound.
The gang of three men, labelled "savages", lay in wait for the security guard, thought to be a foreign national, as he arrived for his shift at the premises in rural Kilbricken, Mountrath, Co Laois, on Tuesday at 5.30am.
The gang, who stole an unknown quantity of diesel and tools, hit the security guard over the head before taking his mobile phone and locking him in the boot of his own car. They then made off with the goods in their own vehicle nearby.
The victim was locked in the boot from just after 5.30am until 2.30pm when Irish Rail workers starting an overnight shift raised the alarm.
In recent weeks, a criminal gang has been reportedly 'circulating' across Laois stealing oil, diesel and tools. The gang strike at night time - but this is the first assault linked with any theft.
Irish Rail are currently using the compound as part of major works on the Dublin-Cork line.
The company are now stepping up security as a result of the attack and false imprisonment.
An Irish Rail spokesman said: "This is a very distressing incident for all involved, particularly the security person and we are reviewing our security procedures at this location with our security provider. Gardaí are also investigating."
"They set upon this man like animals. He was just going to work to do his job and they beat him badly, he was bleeding from the eye and he was left in the boot of his own car for hours in that condition in very cold weather," local councillor James Kelly said.
"I hope to God they are caught soon, to beat someone and lock them in a car like that, it's shocking. He didn't have a chance to call anyone for help. This is a peaceful farming area and we've never seen anything like this.
"This is clearly an organised gang and they need to be stopped now. I hope we get more garda patrols at night because we need to stop this gang."
Gardaí in Portlaoise are investigating the incident of assault and false imprisonment.