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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 29 June 2022

Criminal gang targeting cars parked at five-a-side football pitches located near M50

At least seven areas have been targeted in recent months.

Image: Shutterstock/TMA Harding

FIVE-A-SIDE football players’ vehicles in Dublin are being targeted by a criminal gang. 

The gang is staging raids at sports complexes near the M50, stealing the contents of vehicles and making their getaways via the motorway network and other major roads, TheJournal.ie has learned. 

At least seven locations dotted across the greater Dublin area have been targeted in the last six months, according to victims of the crime as well as security sources familiar with the gang’s operations. 

The following areas have had suspicious incidents or thefts reported to gardaí and to the operators of the sports complexes in recent months: 

  • Blanchardstown
  • Cherry Orchard
  • Tallaght
  • Templeogue
  • Sandyford 
  • Loughlinstown
  • Bray

There have been several reported thefts from vehicles, while a number of people have also returned to their vehicles to find their possessions had been disturbed but nothing taken.

A significant number of vans have been targeted due to the likelihood that expensive tools may be contained inside.

Those who play five-a-side football are being urged to park in well-lit areas and to keep their possessions out of sight, or if possible, not to bring them.

While thefts from cars in sports centres are not uncommon, gardaí say the shorter days will an increased level of crime nationwide.

Due to the locations of these incidents, gardaí from a number of different stations believe the activity is linked to the proximity of the M50.

The gangs suspected of carrying out these thefts have been subject of a number of investigations under Operation Thor – a garda initiative which targets organised crime gangs and repeat offenders.

The gangs are led by a man with a significant number of criminal convictions who was a known associate of murdered crime boss Andy Connors, who was shot dead in 2014.

Local gardaí, as well as national units, are aware of the trend and are investigating.

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