Sunday 18 November 2018

Nine men arrested after gang use digger to 'smash into supermarket' during looting incident in Tallaght

  • Gardaí investigating as 'looters raid Lidl supermarket' in west Dublin during Storm Emma
  • 50 gardai involved in operations
  • Gardai using six-wheel drive military vehicle to patrol area
  • Weather conditions mean some approach roads were virtually impassable
  • Three patrols from armed support unit and four traffic jeeps sent to scene
  • Gardaí also investigating reports on JCB being used by looters 'to smash their way into supermarket'
  • Also investigating reports of safe being 'smashed open by digger' at the scene
  • Nine people arrested at the scene

Tom Brady, Conor Feehan and Ian Begley

Armed gardaí are patrolling the Tallaght area in a six-wheel drive military vehicle this morning following looting by a large gang on Friday evening.

Nine people have been arrested after over 50 gardai were dispatched to the area last night to deal with the incident.

Eight of the nine arrested are due to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice this morning.

Treacherous driving conditions hampered the garda response as some approach roads were virtually impassable.

Gardaí were responding to reports of looting at the supermarket - and reports of a digger being used to "smash into the supermarket".

Reinforcements from across the capital were called in as gardai tried to maintain order outside a Lidl supermarket at Fortunestown Lane in Tallaght.

The incident began shortly before 5pm when gardai at Tallaght station received reports of looting at the supermarket.

An uniformed patrol in a jeep was sent to the scene but had difficulty accessing the location because of heavy snow drifts.

A photo of a digger at the scene
A photo of a digger at the scene

The gardai attempted to approach the supermarket on foot but immediately came under attack from the growing gang of looters.

Stones and other objects as well as snowballs were hurled at the gardai, who summoned help.

Additional garda vehicles were sent to Fortunestown Lane including three patrols from the armed support unit and four traffic jeeps.

Gardai said they were also investigating reports that a JCB had been used by the looters to smash their way into the supermarket.

Furthermore, they are investigating reports that a safe was dragged out from the supermarket and the bucket of the digger was used in an attempt to smash it open.

A digger was recovered in the operation and nine people were arrested at the scene.

There are no reports of any garda being injured at the scene.

Gardai are also investigating other incidents in the area.

One of the patrols on their way to the scene intercepted three men, suspected of being involved in a separate looting incident at a Centra store in Jobstown, near the Blessington Road.

Dublin Fire Brigade confirmed that they attended the scene after reports of a fire - but there was no fire at the scene.

It's understood that the Defence Forces received a request to provide one six-by-six vehicle to help transport gardai from Tallaght garda station to the scene of the alleged crime.

Tallaght councillor Brendan Ferron told Independent.ie that he's shocked that so many people took part in the alleged robbery. 

"It's extremely disappointing to see stuff like this going on," he said. 

"The village is completely snowed in so I'm sure it was an absolute nightmare for the guards to get up there and deal with this situation. 

"My real issue with all of this is that when something like this kicks off it often leads to even more people taking part. 

"Hopefully, the gardai will use the video footage as evidence to help them in their investigation," he said. 

Councillor Cathal King said that those involved give a bad name to the Tallaght community. 

"Everyone I know that has seen this video is extremely disappointed. It's a small minority of the community that's making us all look bad. 

"What really annoys me is that children were dragged into this, which just sets a terrible example," he said.

Labour Party representative for Dublin South-West and Councillor for Tallaght South, Martina Genockey condemned the events and said they "do not represent Tallaght".

“Over the last number of days, our community here in Tallaght has shown strength in the eye of a literal storm and the behaviour by this select few is nothing short of disgusting," she said.

“During bad weather events like this, it is absolutely horrific to think that people in genuine need will be denied speedy access to emergency services because they have to clear up the mindless mess created by people who have no concern for our community."

Gardai have confirmed that substantial damage was caused to both premises.

All those arrested are currently detained at Dublin garda stations.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01 666 6000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Lidl released a statement; "We are aware of the very serious incident at our Fortunestown Lane store this evening.

"Given that the incident is now the subject of a criminal investigation we are not in a position to comment further at this time."

They later added; "As our store on Fortunestown Lane was closed when the incident occurred this evening, we can confirm no member of our team has been injured."

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