UNDERCOVER gardai posing as drug addicts foiled criminals who were about to carry out a brutal attack on two elderly brothers at their isolated home.
The young officers uncovered the plot when they infiltrated a drugs gang operating in Co Clare.
Gang members invited the undercover men to take part in the robbery of the elderly brothers, who they claimed had a large amount of cash in their home in the west of the county.
The burglars planned to use pepper spray on their victims before tying them up. The brothers were to be beaten if they did not co-operate. It is understood the gang carried out a reconnaissance of the house and planned to cut the phone wires before the robbery.
However, armed gardai moved in and arrested two men as they were making their way from Miltown Malbay on the Lahinch Road a fortnight ago. A woman was also later arrested.
Gardai found an array of implements in their car including screwdrivers, pepper spray, a claw hammer, lump hammer, pliers, a knife and a torch.
When the suspects were in custody, gardai told them their two new 'companions' were undercover officers. The men were released, and a file is being prepared for the DPP.
The successful operation was the latest in a number of cases cracked with the help of the undercover gardai attached to the Garda National Drug Unit.
The young male and female officers, all seconded from uniformed duties, infiltrate drug-dealing circles posing as addicts. They identify the dealers by buying drugs and building evidence before carrying out arrests.
Dubbed the Mockies – street slang for mock junkies – they have broken up low-level heroin dealing operations in most major towns and cities.