Police plea to trace members of 'rogues gallery'

More than 100 people have been arrested during a summer offensive against burglary in Belfast, it was revealed today.

More than 100 people have been arrested during a summer offensive against burglary in Belfast, it was revealed today.

Details were given as the PSNI released a 'rogues gallery' of suspected criminals they are seeking.

In a highly unusual move the police issued the photographs, names and alleged offences of eight men they want to interview.

Operation Heartbreak - a crackdown on burglary and other crimes - has been running for the past two months and is aimed at preventing burglary and associated offences such as car crime.

It is also designed to get more people before the courts.

The targeted operation has involved specialist officers patrolling hot-spot areas to disrupt activity and make arrests.

So far 109 people have been arrested for a range of offences including burglary, car crime, possession of drugs and breach of bail.

Appealing for the public's help in tracking down the eight men the PSNI urged people not to approach them.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said their operation had been making an impact but now they needed community assistance.

He said: "Police have been and will continue to take proactive steps to thwart criminal activity but it is my professional judgement that it is now appropriate and timely to release the photographs as part of a proportionate and focused investigation strategy.

"My request to the public is simple - if you know the whereabouts of any of the people photographed please contact police immediately. We believe they will be able to assist in ongoing investigations and cases."

The list includes two convicted men on the run from prison and six more suspected of burglary.

The men the PSNI said they wish to speak to or locate are:

Brendan Emmanuel Hughes (aged 33) from North Belfast whom they wish to speak to in connection with ongoing enquiries into two burglaries and one armed robbery. There is also a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear at Laganside Magistrate's Court on June 11 charged with burglary.

Colin Taggart (aged 24) from the Castlereagh area whom they wish to locate. He is unlawfully at large after failing to return to prison after a town visit to Limavady was granted in November 2007. He was sentenced in March 2007 to four years for robbery. Police also wish to speak to him in relation to enquiries into two counts of assault on police.

Darren Clarke (aged 27) from Dunmurry who they wish to speak to in connection with ongoing enquiries into two burglaries.

Martin McDonagh (aged 27) who they wish to speak to in connection with ongoing enquiries into a burglary.

Michael O'Connor (aged 22) from West Belfast who they wish to speak to in connection with an ongoing burglary enquiry.

Paul Emmanuel Austin (aged 31) from West Belfast who they wish to speak to in connection with an ongoing burglary enquiry.

Sean Skelly (aged 25) from West Belfast whom they wish to locate. He is currently wanted on an arrest warrant for failing to appear at Lisburn Magistrate's Court on 20/05/08 charged with burglary and theft.

Steven Fegan (aged 27) from West Belfast whom they wish to locate and who is unlawfully at large after failing to return to prison. He is currently on remand for attempted theft and trespass.

More in this section