Gardai thwart travelling crime gang

Two men were arrested and charged last week by gardai following a high speed chase across counties Cavan and Longford.
Two members from a notorious Traveller crime gang believed to be behind a string of daring petrol station raids were stopped in their tracks this week by gardai following a high speed chase across counties Cavan and Longford.

Two members from a notorious Traveller crime gang believed to be behind a string of daring petrol station raids were stopped in their tracks this week by gardai following a high speed chase across counties Cavan and Longford.

The men, both of whom are in their early 30s, were arrested on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown during the early hours of last Tuesday morning (March 26) by officers from Granard Garda Station.

Both suspects had earlier been seen acting suspiciously behind the wheel of a silver coloured Volvo estate outside The Hideout Pub in Bailieboro. Responding to those calls, Cavan Gardai went in search of the car only to be given the slip by the men who sped off at speed.

As the car made its way through Mullahoran and towards the Longford border, Gardai in Granard were notified and quickly set up a checkpoint just outside the north Longford town.

Those efforts proved unsuccessful moments later as the car smashed through the checkpoint and headed in the direction of Edgeworthstown. The availability of a second patrol car in Granard’s neighbouring town however enabled gardai to set up a second road block, culminating in the arrest of the two men.

Sources close to the investigation have since informed the Leader, gardai were also forced to smash the windows of the Volvo estate during the course of the pair’s successful capture.

A follow up search of the car, which had been stolen in Ardee days earlier and fitted with false number plates, also returned a number of items gardai believe may have been used in previous incidents, including balaclavas and iron bars.

Both men have since been charged with a variety of theft related offences and handling stolen property ahead of an expected court appearance in Virginia, Co Cavan on Friday (April 5).

Less than an hour beforehand, Granard Gardai also came across a suspected thief carrying out a burglary at a jewellery store in Granard town. The man, originally from the north Longford area and who is in his early 20s, was later detained and questioned over the incident.

He is scheduled to appear before a sitting of Granard District Court later this month, charged with burglary and damaging property.

As gardai this week continue with their own investigations, sources put both breakthroughs down to the continued successes of Operation Aimsir, a planned Garda initiative specifically geared towards tackling suspected travelling crime gangs.

“The incidents are signs of its (Operation Aimsir) progress, so for us (Granard Gardai) they (arrests) were good to get,” said a spokesperson.