A GANG cut alarm wires and made off with a large quantity of cigarettes and cash in a well-planned early morning raid.
Gardaí investigating the break-in at the Costcutters supermarket in Ballyhea, near Charleville in north Cork, issued a public appeal for information last night.
Superintendent Pat McCarthy urged other business owners not to leave large amounts of cash on their premises overnight.
And he said business owners should ensure they have an alarm, and a back-upradio link to boost theirsecurity systems.
The gang of at least three men struck at around 2.40am yesterday. They were dressed in dark clothing and each wore a balaclava.
They cut telephone lines and wires to the shop’s alarm system to prevent its activation.
They were captured on CCTV cameras entering the rear of the premises at around 2.40am before helping themselves to what gardaí described as a “substantial” amount of cash and a large quantity of cigarettes.
Gardaí believe the gang used wheelie bins to remove the cigarettes from the shop.
Detectives found one box of cigarettes in a nearby cemetery and believe the gang loaded their getaway vehicle in that area.
Eircom subsequently became aware of the cut phone lines in that area and gardaí were alerted some time after 4am.
A team of forensic experts spent yesterday examining the scene.
Supt McCarthy appealed for anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area in recent days to contact gardaí. He said gardaí are particularly anxious to speak to anyone who may have seen suspicious activity or unusual vehicular movements in or around Ballyhea village, or the Costcutters outlet itself, between midnight on Tuesday night and 5am yesterday.
“There is a derelict house near the premises and maybe somebody saw something unusual in this area,” he added.
Detectives are also investigating reports that a blue Renault Laguna was seen in the area but they have not yet established a link between it and the robbery.
Anyone with information should contact gardaí at Mallow on 022-21105 or Charleville on 063-81222.
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