GARDAI have smashed a major burglary gang who are suspected of targeting up to 40 houses in south Dublin in the past month.
In a series of dawn raids in the Ballybrack, Dun Laoghaire, Tallaght and Co Wicklow areas, eight suspects were arrested in relation to the string of burglaries that have yielded hundreds of thousands of euro worth of goods and cash.
Seven of those arrested were men aged between 19 and 23 with a 21-year-old woman also held during the swoop.
Sources say that the gang, who are made up of settled and traveller criminals, have been targeting homes in Foxrock, Cabinteely, Shankhill and Dun Laoghaire.
Many of the suspects are well known to gardai and have multiple previous convictions.
The operation is being led by Superintendent Kevin Dolan and sources say that some of the suspects were identified at an identity parade in Dun Laoghaire Garda Station earlier this week.
A source said: "This operation will shake things up in the Dun Laoghaire area – some of these fellas have been at this type of crime for many years."
Today's raids were part of Operation Acer, a local operation put in place by gardai from the detective units, crime task force and drugs units based in Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock to combat the spate of burglaries in south Co Dublin.
During the operation gardai have recovered jewellery, clothing, computer and electronic equipment and a car.
The burglary epidemic is being driven by crime gangs who see homes in upmarket areas as easy pickings.
Last week it emerged that almost €15m was stolen by burglars in the second half of last year, with most criminals gaining access to homes through the front or back doors, according to a new garda report.
Garda analysis of reported crimes last year indicated that 28pc of burglars gained access through a rear window, while 27pc went in through the front door.
Around 24,000 break-ins take place every year with a third of burglaries taking place between 5pm and 8pm.