Gardaí seized a stun gun, cable ties, pillows, balaclavas and house-breaking equipment from a gang suspected of carrying out a large number of burglaries in counties Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford.
Extra garda patrols had been deployed in the region in recent weeks and one of them intercepted five suspected members of the gang on the Cork/Limerick border.
The men were travelling in two vehicles when they were stopped by a number of gardaí on Monday night at Lisnalanniv, Anglesboro, approximately 6km north of Mitchelstown.
Gardaí arrested the five men, who are all in their 30s and believed to be from Waterford City.
Garda sources said officers also seized the two vehicles, a stun gun and what were described as a number of house-breaking implements.
The seizure of the stun gun, cable ties and pillow cases suggested the gang were prepared to Taser and tie up victims if necessary.
While there have been no reports of the use of stun guns on burglary victims in the region, a businessman, his wife and son were threatened with weapons recently during an aggravated burglary in Fermoy.
The three were also locked in a room in their house before the burglars left with a large sum of money.
The five men were arrested under Criminal Justice (Theft & Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and can be detained by gardaí for up to 24 hours. Two were being questioned yesterday at Fermoy Garda Station, two in Midleton, and the other at Mallow.
Garda sources said that while they were hoping they have done damage to the gang they are still deploying special patrols and urged the public to remain vigilant.
The spate of burglaries has been most noticeable in rural areas.
Gardaí believe that the gang are using spotters to carry out reconnaissance on areas in advance of the raids.
“We’re urging householders to turn on alarms when they’re going out and to ensure all windows and doors are locked. Also make sure you lock your garage because there could be implements in their the burglars could use to gain access to a house,” a garda source said.
He added that people should also keep an eye out for suspicious activity and unusual vehicles and report this immediately to their local Garda station.
The issue of increased robberies in the North Cork area in particular is to be debated at the next meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee.
Chairman Cllr Frank O’Flynn, said he was concerned about the upward trend and called for even more Garda resources to be thrown into the fight against the burglars.
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