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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019

Residents in Galway suburb terrorised by 'heroin-fuelled' burglaries

Sources say a small group of young thieves operating in the area are becoming more reckless and are not concerned about whether or not people are home when they break in.

Image: burglary image via Shutterstock

A GANG OF thieves responsible for a spate of “heroin-fuelled” burglaries in an area of Galway have become increasingly reckless lately due to a lack of garda resources.

The issues was raised yesterday by Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh who said the burglars, believed to be on drugs, are “terrorising local residents” in the Knocknacarra area.

Sources say there are around six young men, aged in their late teens and early 20s, who have been operating in the area for a number of years. Though the men do not work together in an organised gang, their combined presence in the area has left residents feeling unsafe in their own homes.

“There have been an awful lot of burglaries in the last while,” one source said. “They’re getting more reckless, just smashing and grabbing and they don’t care if there are people in the house.”

“On the rampage”

The men involved are well known to gardaí and have been convicted of burglary-related offences in the past.

There’s a problem with bail because when they’re incarcerated there doesn’t seem to be a problem. When they get back into the community, they just go on the rampage.

Over the weekend there were extra patrols in the area but the poor garda resources mean this heightened presence can not continue.

“It’s a huge population in that area, around 28,000 people and basically you’re looking on any given night at three or four gardaí working that population. There are just no resources. There’s one main patrol car covering that. It means we’re only reactionary then, after something has already happened.”

A matter of urgency

Though sources say none of the young men have drug convictions, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said he has been told an increase in heroin use it thought to be exacerbating the situation.

“I am calling on the Minister for Justice to liaise with garda authorities to ensure that these thieves are stopped,” he said yesterday.

“Whether this means more resources being made available locally to deal with the specific individuals in question here, or changes in legislation to ensure that serial offenders such as these are not in a position to do more harm, that needs to be done as a matter of urgency.”

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