Break-ins surge 54% across Cork City and suburbs

A Garda operation in Dublin against serial burglars resulted in a 54% increase in break-ins to homes in Cork City and suburbs.

That’s according to Chief Supt Michael Finn, who said there were 262 reported burglaries in the Cork City Garda Division between March and May, compared to 170 in the comparable period in 2014.

He told a meeting of the Cork City joint policing committee (JPC) that March was the worst month with 121 burglaries, “double what you’d usually expect”. He said an anti-burglary operation was under way at the time in the capital and this “had displaced them [to Cork]”.

“We had to set up our own operation then to counter this and a lot of extra resources had to be put in for it.”

He said as a result the figures were now dropping, which was a positive thing. However, he admitted that the Cork City operation had probably in turn displaced the burglars to rural areas of the county.

Chief Supt Finn said many people were lax about their home security and some did not want to turn their alarms on because if the alarm went off it might wake their neighbours.

Thefts from shops were also on the up between March and May, compared to the same period in 2014 and this was also a result of criminals travelling from outside the region.

There was a 27% increase from 385 in the 2104 period to 490 for the same period this year.

Again the senior garda said it was fortunate this surge was beginning to come down.

Supt Tom Myers, who is in charge of policing the city centre, said he had met with members of the Cork Business Association (CBA) in an effort to beef up security in stores.

“We are increasing [Garda] patrols in the city centre to address this and we hope to reverse the trend,” Supt Myers said, while his boss added: “It’s important we all work together on this.”

Chief Supt Finn said thefts from the person continued to be a problem. There were 299 of them reported in the city from March to May, compared to 221 in the 2014 period, which is a 35% increase.

The chief superintendent said a lot of the thefts were occurring at night when people were out socialising and let their guard down.

“It is a continuous problem for us,” he said, despite some success in arresting those responsible who are mainly snatching handbags looking for cash or stealing expensive mobile phones.

He said young people coming into the city centre on weekend days were also being regularly targeted by gangs of older teenagers who were stealing their mobile phones. “This is also of concern to us,” he said.

Theft from vehicles was also up by 20% from 221 to 229. Chief Supt Finn said one person was in custody who was believed to have been responsible for a number of them, so this problem should now decrease.

Meanwhile, arson, criminal damage and public order offences were down.

However, the chief superintendent said drunkenness was on the increase, which was probably a result of a pick-up in the economy.

He also said the number of minor assaults being recorded on the city’s streets on weekend nights was on the rise.

Gardaí recover €25k in farm supplies

Sean O' Riordan

Gardaí have recovered more than €25,000 worth of farm equipment and supplies which have been stolen from the North Cork and South Limerick areas in recent weeks.

Gardaí mounted a special operation in the Mallow area following a noticeable rise in the theft of agri-related material, which they suspect was being sold on to farmers at a knockdown price.

Two days ago in the early hours of the morning a special patrol stopped a vehicle near Killavullen and discovered €15,000 worth of silage bale wraps, grass seed and fertiliser inside.

Two men who were in the van were detained by gardaí.

Gardaí later traced the stolen goods to Goldcrop Ltd, an agri-sales company based in Killavullen.

Supt Pat McCarthy, who is leading the ongoing special operation, said that follow-up searches were also conducted on farms in the North Cork and South Limerick areas where gardaí discovered a further €10,000 of suspected stolen goods.

Supt McCarthy said these included water troughs and fencing and it was likely the items were stolen from other farms or coops.

“We believe it’s possible the gangs could be selling the stolen goods to order. We also believe they are selling them at knockdown prices.”

Supt McCarthy said agri-businesses should boost their security and he also said some farmers were very lax when it came to protecting valuable products.

“A lot of them are leaving large amounts of fertiliser bags unprotected around the farm and that’s just asking for trouble,” he said.

“Once a large delivery of fertiliser is made the farmer should either spread it straight away or make sure it is properly locked away.”

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