Garda spokesman blames foreign crime gangs for spate of power-line thefts

A Garda spokesman has said that criminal gangs from west Balkan countries are coming to Ireland to steal high-voltage power lines.

Garda spokesman blames foreign crime gangs for spate of power-line thefts

A Garda spokesman has said that criminal gangs from west Balkan countries are coming to Ireland to steal high-voltage power lines.

There has been a significant rise in the theft of power lines in the past year, with 27,000 customers losing electricity supply so far this year in 48 robberies.

Crimestoppers has today launched a campaign urging the public to confidentially report any theft of metal, including power cables, copper phone wires, road signs or posts.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Derek Byrne said that five people were arrested in connection with the theft of power cables in early August, and there have been no robberies since they were caught.

Approximately 140km of copper conductor has been stolen so far this year, costing €27m to replace and repair since 2012.

Tim Dalton, chairman of Crimestoppers said: "There is little public awareness of this type of crime and even less understanding of the very serious public risk and inconvenience associated with it.

"Crimestoppers is asking members of the public to call 1800 25 00 25 if they see something that looks unusual and which might be linked to the theft of metal.

"Calls to Crimestoppers are free and anonymous and you might receive a reward for the information you provide."

Derek Byrne, Assistant Commissioner, An Garda Síochána said: "The good news is that if the public provide enough information, we can arrest the criminals involved and reduce the impact it has on communities and businesses around Ireland.

"Information from the public had an important role to play in the success we have had arresting the gangs involved in the theft of power lines in recent weeks.

"By contacting Crimestoppers with information you can help the Gardaí to reduce this type of crime and its impact on our communities.

"We are making a special appeal to farmers and rural dwellers to contact us immediately if they believe that there is any suspicious activity taking place close to electricity networks on their land."

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