Thieves target parochial houses

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Gardaí in Longford are investigating a number of robberies which occured last Saturday and focused on religious buildings at various locations in the county.

Gardaí in Longford are investigating a number of robberies which occured last Saturday and focused on religious buildings at various locations in the county.

The parochial house in Newtownforbes was broken intosometime between 6.50pm and 8pm on Saturday, October 19. The intruders got away with a handbag and a small amount of cash after possibly gaining entry through the rear of the building.

Between 6.45pm and 8.15pm the same evening, burglars entered the parochial house in Ardagh through a rear window, and escaped with a laptop and a small quantity of cash.

“I knew straight away there had been a break-in when I returned to find the gates half-open,” said Fr Pat Lennon, parish priest of Ardagh and Moydow. “I’m not shaken by these events, though. It happens every day. I’m philosophical about it; I don’t condone it but it’s sad that people are forced to do these things.”

There was also an attempted burglary at a house in the nearby townland of Lennamore at approximately 8.15pm. However, the thieves were disturbed when the owners returned home and made their getaway empty-handed.

Gardaí are keen to speak to two males dressed in tracksuits, hoodies and baseball hats who were noticed in the Ardagh area around the time.

Earlier on Saturday, a handbag was taken from a car outside St Paul’s Church of Ireland in Newtownforbes between 12.50pm and 1.05pm, and gardaí examining CCTV footage would like to talk to a man who entered the building around the time of the robbery. The man has been described as being around five foot, nine inches tall, of narrow build and with short dark hair. Officers at Longford Garda Station also want to speak to the owner of a black hatchback car – possibly a Toyota – spotted in the vicinity at the same time.

Anyone with information relating to any of these incidents is urged to contact Longford Garda Station on 043 33 46266.