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Garda swoop foils the revival of feared Westies crime gang

AN ATTEMPT to re-form the notorious Westies gang was smashed when gardai foiled the kidnap of a bank worker.

Three former members of the gang were arrested as they tried to abduct the financial services worker.

The trio were detained with two other city criminals in a swoop by crack armed detectives.

The three Blanchardstown-based gangsters -- who were in custody today -- were members of the infamous Westies, whose leaders Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg were murdered in Spain's Costa-Del-Crime in 2004.

Officers believe they intended kidnapping a bank worker ahead of opening hours this morning.

It was also an attempt to revive the fortunes of the once notorious Westies crime network.

In a surveillance led operation by the Garda Organised Crime Unit (OCU), the suspects were arrested at 1am yesterday in a housing estate in Kill, Co Kildare. Gardai believe the gang were on their way to carry out an armed robbery.

Armed detectives recovered a sawn-off shotgun and automatic pistol and the five arrested men – aged in their late 20s and 30s - are being questioned today at three different garda stations in the city.

The Herald can reveal that two of the suspects are brothers from the Blanchardstown area, aged 30 and 35, who are extremely well known to gardai.

Sources say that the older of the brothers was very close to Westies' gang leaders Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg who were murdered in Spain in 2004.

But the two brothers fell out with the notorious mob bosses when the younger brother was shot in the leg by Sugg in 1999 in a dispute over a woman and the older brother was beaten with an armed bar.

At one stage gardai were confident that the brothers would give evidence against Sugg but this never happened and the dispute was resolved.

Three years after being shot in the leg, the younger brother was arrested with a close associate of Sugg in relation to an armed robbery at a credit union in Derry which led to five-hour siege with the PSNI outside a bed-and-breakfast.


His older brother is a chronic heroin addict who was given a six-month suspended sentence in February after being caught with €1,600 worth of heroin in his pocket.

The 35-year-old criminal broke his knees in a serious road traffic accident five years ago and has 13 previous criminal convictions.

Another of those still being questioned today is a very close associate of tragic Ian Tobin (25), a father-of-two,who died after he was shot through the front door of a house in Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown, in May 2007.

Mr Tobin's close associate is aged 35 and he has numerous previous convictions.

He was shot during the robbery of a Co Meath supermarket in 1997 and has convictions for dealing heroin, burglary, criminal damage and assault.

The other two men being detained today are being held in Ballyfermot Garda Station.

Both are aged in their late 20s and are from the East Wall and Malahide areas of Dublin.

Sources say that the duo have links to other Dublin-based criminals who have been involved in tiger kidnappings in recent times.

It is understood that Sunday morning's arrests foiled a tiger kidnapping which had been planned for over two months before the five gangsters were arrested.

Gardai had the gang under surveillance for weeks and watched as they travelled out of the city in two cars and met up in a housing estate in Kill shortly before 1am.

One of the cars, a BMW, had been stolen in west Dublin on April 1 and stashed away in preparation for the robbery.

Three of the suspects, along with the two weapons, were found in the BMW.

The other two were detained close-by after a short chase through the housing estate.

All five are expected to be released without charge later this week and a file will be prepared for the DPP.

The infamous Westies gang imploded in an unprecedented round of blood-letting which resulted in the murders of all of its leaders.

These included Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg - who were murdered on the orders of a Finglas drug dealer in 2004 - Sugg's brother Bernard and crazed criminal brothers Andrew 'Madser' Glennon and his older brother Mark.

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