Arrests of Romanian 'Hole in the Roof' robbery gang linked spate of Longford break-ins

Detectives probing gang's suspected involvement in Longford, Granard and Drumlish raids over past 12 month period

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Armed Gardai

Gardaí are investigating if a Romanian organised crime gang are behind a string of break-ins in Longford, the latter of which occurred earlier this week at a local filling station.

A Romanian organised crime network known as the 'Hole in the Roof' gang who were arrested yesterday as part of a major surveillance led operation are believed to be behind a number of break-ins in Co Longford including this week's raid at Stonepark filling station.

Four people were detained yesterday by detectives which coincided in 11 dawn raids in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

The three men and one woman are being linked to an eastern European group that is thought to have secured more than €1m worth of stolen cash and cigarettes during the course of 45 robberies nationwide in the past year alone.

Garda sources have this morning informed the Leader that the group are being investigated over a number of break-ins currently under investigation in Longford.

The latest of those occurred as recently as this week when a group of three men broke into Stonepark's Top Oil petrol station.

ALSO READ: Gardaí look for clues after three man gang raid Longford filling station

Investigators are probing whether the quartet currently being quizzed by officers at various stations across the country under anti-gang legislation can be traced to that and other investigations within the county.

One of the reasons behind that thinking fall largely as a result of the methods used by the gang to gain access to the property and the items gardaí have since seized.

During the course of yesterday's dawn raids gardaí seized walkie talkies, which the gang were observed using during the course of the Stonepark raid.

A small quantity of cigarettes were also seized, items which were taken by the raiders.

Gardaí are now trying to establish whether the cigarettes retrieved can be traced back to the Stonepark burglary.

The Leader also understands senior officers are looking into whether the gang are responsible for a series of other heists that have yet to be solved.

Among them includes an early morning raid at Kiernan's Centra in Drumlish.

ALSO READ: Gang make off with substantial haul in overnight Drumlish raid

Like the Stonepark incident, the suspects gained entry to the premises by disabling an alarm system before making  their way inside.

And like that episode cigarettes were the items of choice along with a small quantity of cash.

The Leader also understands gardaí are examining the gang's suspected involvement in a burglary at Kearney's Filling Station in Granard last November.

For more on this story, see next week's Longford Leader.