Career criminals are travelling hundreds of miles on a weekly basis to raid unoccupied houses in broad daylight in some of the most isolated areas of County Longford, it has emerged.
Gardai believe organised gangs from as far away as Co Louth are behind the latest wave of burglaries covering remote pockets of north Longford as well as residential estates in Cavan and Monaghan.
Details of the scale of criminal activity currently affecting the county was disclosed to members of Longford’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday morning.
Superintendent Dermot Mann said the activities of experienced thieves, some of whom have carried out burglaries in many neighbouring counties, has led to its own challenges for gardai.
In the Granard policing district, Supt Mann said detection rates now stood at around 20 per cent. Supt Mann said the high level of unsolved break-ins in the northern half of the district was, however, giving most cause for concern amongst his most senior officers.
“The detection rate in the southern part of my district is quite a bit higher covering the likes of Edgeworthstown, Ardagh and Granard. That is now at nearly 30 per cent. However, in Smear, Drumlish and Ballinalee the detection rate is quite low. We have tracked down cars that have come as far away as Dundalk, criminals who are coming in and taking in not just Longford but Cavan, Monaghan and right through Meath.
“Quite often what these people are doing are taking opportunities, stopping at houses and seeing what’s vacant. They are not doing one house a day, they are doing a series of houses. These people are good at their business, they are professionals and don’t leave any leads behind them. That’s why the detection rate is probably lesser in the northern part of the county.”
Supt Mann said four further burglaries were reported over the course of last weekend as criminals targeted premises in the Drumlish, Ballinalee and Aughnacliffe regions.
The north Longford Garda chief said the setting up of community alert organisations in rural parishes across Longford would no doubt play a significant part in solving organised crime as a consequence of ongoing financial constraints.