Man appears at Longford District court charged with theft
A man appeared in court on Tuesday morning charged in connection with the theft of eight copper cylinders from private houses in Co Longford.
The man was arrested on foot of a targeted operation involving both Granard and Longford Garda Districts following a string of burglaries since the turn of the year.
It's understood further individuals will be brought before the courts over the coming weeks as a result of the operation.
Granard Supt Brian Mohan said incidents linked to copper related theft were starting to resurface especially among more rural and isolated areas of the county.
"It's not onlt the theft of the copper cylinder its the damage it causes in leaving water running to destroy the whole premises," he told a meeting of Co Longford's Joint Policing Committee (JPC) yesterday.
"We targeted specific people and we did come up with a number of suspects and arising from that we searched a premises in Longford and recovered eight stolen cylinders in that premises.
"We currently have a person charged who is appearing in court tomorrow and we expect further charges to follow."
Local Cllr Paraic Brady commended gardaí on their efforts in securing an arrest but said there was a wider problem at play.
The Drumlish based councillor hit out at what he termed as "the slap on the wrists" offenders of such episodes are given when appearing in front of a judge and called for those convicted to have their social welfare payments reapportioned to allow victims to be fully compensated.
"These fellas are coming before the courts and all they are getting is a slap on the wrists," he said.
"They are getting free legal aid as well and it's not good enough."
Cllr Brady cited one example in his own home town where an elderly man returned home from a minor hospital procedure to find his home "torn asunder" after thieves ripped a copper cylinder from a wall, causing thousands of euros of damage in the process.
Appearing more and more distressed with each passing second, Cllr Brady said the homeowner, who is also a neighbour of his own, has been unable to return home since the incident.
Cllr Brady said he intended writing a letter to prosecutors which he hoped would be read out in court to highlight the emotional distress such crimes can have on victims and their families.