Gardaí made 90 arrests for begging or shoplifting in Cork City over Christmas, recovering an estimated €20,000 worth of stolen goods.
The figures were released following the conclusion of a specific Garda operation in the city centre focused on tackling organised begging and theft from shops.
There were 23 probationer gardaí assigned to assist in overall Christmas policing operations in the city, allowing for the deployment of additional high-visibility patrols, particularly in the busy shopping areas, as back-up to an existing shoplifting detection unit.
Gardaí made 44 arrests for begging and 46 for shoplifting in the Cork City Division in December.
Most arrests for begging were under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011, which gives gardaí greater authority to deal with people found to be aggressively begging on the streets, or to be obstructing doorways or footpaths.
Just days before the operation kicked in, a woman in her 30s was arrested after she was found with an estimated €3,000 worth of clothes, sunglasses and jewellery which had been taken from six shops in the city earlier.
In the first weekend of December, six men and two women were arrested for shoplifting in the city — three for one theft incident. Of the eight, five were charged and three will receive an adult caution.
In another case, a woman with 20 theft convictions, jailed for eight months last October for burglary, was caught shoplifting in the city centre just days after her temporary release. She was before the courts this week on three new counts of theft.
On December 5, she took €50 cash from an unattended jacket at a pub on Oliver Plunkett St. The next day she stole €42 worth of clothing from Penney’s on St Patrick’s Street, and on December 12, she stole €469 worth of toys from Smyth’s Toys at Kinsale Road. In respect of both shoplifting incidents she was apprehended and detained at the stores and the goods were recovered. She received an eight-month sentence.
Chief Supt Barry McPolin said tackling theft from businesses is a constant battle. He said the dedicated Garda shoplifting unit will continue to carry out high-visibility patrols.
“If any retailers in Cork wish to discuss any aspect of keeping their business more secure, please contact your local station and we can arrange for our crime prevention officer or community gardaí to have a chat.”