A man suspected of being a member of a Cork Traveller gang responsible for a spate of burglaries and robberies across Limerick has been arrested following a massive Garda operation.
The man, aged 23, was arrested in a field yesterday after gardaí chased a car which had broken through a number of Garda checkpoints.
According to a source, the car had been tracked by gardaí using covert surveillance methods before officers swooped on the vehicle.
The Traveller gang was targeted by gardaí as part of Operation Bliain, a regional arm of the national Garda operation Fiacla, set up to curb the rise in burglaries across the country.
Up to 60 gardaí from Cork and Limerick were involved in yesterday’s operation.
After officers spun a web of Garda checkpoints across all main routes between Limerick and Cork, they captured one suspect.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan, Henry Street gardaí, Limerick, said: “This Traveller gang has been on a spree across the South Limerick region for quite some time now. They tried to make their escape through a number of checkpoints. We have officers chasing them through open fields and bogs at present.
“One man has been arrested and we are looking for three others. Our Garda colleagues in Cork are providing us with invaluable assistance.”
The suspect has been detained at Bruff Garda Station for questioning about a number of burglaries in the Martinstown, Kilmallock, Charleville and Bruff Garda districts.
The operation was spread over massive distances between north Cork, south-east Limerick and west Limerick and the Garda helicopter was deployed. Dog units were also drafted in last night as gardaí hunted the other three men.
“A high-powered Volvo car has been seized. The car is being held by us for a technical examination by our Scenes of Crime Unit,” Chief Supt Sheahan said. Limerick’s top garda added, the operation would continue unabated “for the next three months” to ensure a complete clampdown on burglaries.
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