Carrickedmond business raided hours after opening

Barely 24 hours after re-opening, a Longford businessman found his store had been raided by unscrupulous thieves.

Barely 24 hours after re-opening, a Longford businessman found his store had been raided by unscrupulous thieves.

Eugene Quaine, the properietor of MFS Fuels in Carrickedmond, Co Longford had only just finished refurbishing his filling station and home heating business when burglars struck last Tuesday evening.

Up to 40 gas cylinders were taken from a nearby shed less than three days after it was officially re-opened to the general public.

"What do you do, close up?" Mr Quaine asked frankly. "We have it on camera so that's something."

A prominent member of the local GAA fraternity, Mr Quaine said the raid was well orchestrated, explaining the thieves had specifically targeted the cylinders.

"There were 39 gas cylinders taken. It was a planned job, I'm pretty sure of that. It (cylinders) had been here for three weeks before we opened."

Thefts of gas cylinders have rocketed over the past six months as criminals from both sides of the border eye up what has become a lucrative money spinner for criminals.

In August, the Leader revealed how gardai in Granard intercepted a gang who were in the process of transporting almost 20 cylinders with a street value of €2,000. It's believed the cylinders, some of which were rolling around in the back of a van may have been destined for the black market.

Gardai at the time believed criminals were stealing the cylinders from businesses, refilling them across the border before selling them off at knockdown prices to unsuspecting retailers.