GARDAI are urging drunken and gay men to be conscious of their safety in Dublin city centre after seven horrific assaults in laneways in the past two weeks.
There have been three separate attacks in one laneway close to the Olympia Theatre.
Gardai believe they were carried out by the same under-age Romanian mob whose ringleaders are aged 16 and 17. While some of the victims have been gay, others were targeted because they were on their own.
In a horrific incident in the early hours of last Sunday, a man was knocked unconscious at Crampton Court, just off Dame Street.
The incident was captured on good quality CCTV which shows one of the two under-age suspects knocking his victim out with a punch. As the man lay on the ground, the pair stole his smartphone and wallet containing almost €300.
The suspects were spotted entering the laneway by two undercover drugs officers from Pearse Street garda station who went to either end in a bid to catch them.
However, the victim had already been assaulted by the time they arrived, so one officer tended to him and the other garda was unable to capture the suspects.
The victim was unconscious for around seven minutes and needed urgent hospital treatment.
In the same laneway on Wednesday night, gardai working as part of Operation Aughrim against street crime arrested two juvenile Romanians after a man was assaulted and had his phone and wallet stolen.
A similar assaulted happened in Crampton Court earlier this month, and gardai are investigating the same mob for the assault and robbery of a man in Cow's Lane, Temple Bar a fortnight ago.
The ringleaders have addresses in Dublin's north inner city and are part of an organised street crime gang.
A senior source told the Herald: "These gangs are targeting men who are walking on their own in laneways off Dame Street, George's Street and Aungier Street.
"Not all the victims have been gay, but some have. With that in mind, gardai would like to stress that it is very important that anyone who is a victim of such an attack should report it.
"Their complaint will be treated with complete confidentiality, and gay liaison officers are available if required.
"People who are socialising in the city centre need to be aware of their surroundings and who is around them."