Tuesday 23 July 2019

Drugs seized during Mallow bicycle blitz

Bill Browne

A blitz on bicycle thefts in Mallow brought some welcome, if somewhat unexpected, results for local Gardaí last weekend.

Responding to the recent increase in the number of bicycles being stolen the Castlepark area of the town, Gardaí initiated an operation targeting the theft and resale of bikes, mounting extra patrols in the area. 

It was during one of those patrols during the early hours of last Sunday morning that officers stopped and search a vehicle on Castlepark Avenue, the diver of which, a male in his 20's, was arrested and subsequently appeared before the courts in relation to road traffic offences. 

During a follow-up operation Gardaí, acting on foot of a search warrant, entered a house at Maple Square and during the subsequent search seized five bicycles. One of the recovered bicycles, which it is believed had been stolen in the town over previous days, was valued at €3,500. 

During the search Gardaí also seized cannabis and cocaine with a street value of €3,000, which has been sent to their forensic labs for analysis.

Two males, one in his 20's and the other in his 30's were arrested at the scene and detained for a period at Mallow Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act (1984). They were both released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). 

John Kelly, the Fermoy-based Garda crime prevention officer for north Cork, urged bike owners to familiarise themselves with their national 'Lock It or Lost It' campaign launched last September to raise awareness of better bicycle security.

According to figures released at the time of the launch more than 14,000 bikes had been stolen since 2016. That number of thefts had increased by 7.5% last year was likely to increase again in 2018. 

Statistics showed that almost one third of bikes were taken from homes, the majority were taken between the hours of 8am and 5pm and the average cost of a bike stolen was around €510. 

"We would advise that people spend up to 20% of the value of their bike on buying two locks and local your bike to an immovable object indoors or in a well-lit area if possible," said Sgt Kelly. 

He advised people to take a photo of their bike, note the serial number and email back to themselves so they have a permanent record of it. 

"I would also ask anyone who may have had their bicycle stolen recently and may have not reported it to Gardaí to do so immediately," said Sgt Kelly. 

"We regularly post photos of recovered bicycles at to try to reunite them with their owners. People should also check on online trading websites as stolen high value bikes can often be put up for sale on them," he added.