Criminal gang target rural dwellers

HOUSEHOLDS across South Kilkenny have been targeted by a gang of criminals who burgled and ransacked homes in recent days.

HOUSEHOLDS across South Kilkenny have been targeted by a gang of criminals who burgled and ransacked homes in recent days.

At 5.30am on Monday morning a gang broke into the yard of a farmer at Chapelizod between Dunamaggin and Kells and stole machinery and equipment valued at approximately €15,000. “The house was only 100 yards away and the family were sleeping when this was happening. Our group has been up and running for the past 25 years and this is the first time we have seen anything like this,” said secretary of Dunnamaggin/Kells Community Alert, John Holden.

The gang appear to have good local knowledge and the house of a well known local politician was also hit twice in the last month.

“We never had a break in in forty years and now we have hit twice in a month. The first time they took cash and jewellery but this time there was nothing left for them to take. They either got into or tried to break into at least six houses - including houses in Kilmoganny, Kells, Knocktopher and Stoneyford,” he said.

The reason Cllr Crowley, who is also a well-respected doctor went public is that he wants to increase awareness. “People should be aware of the precautions that they need to take. It is a plague at the moment and it is happening far more often than before.”

The doctor’s house was broken into after the burglars forced in a window. “I was gone to a funeral at the time and they broke in the window, which is in full view of the road at around 8pm. I have insurance but that doesn’t cover the impact it has on your personally. I am not going to let this ruin my life or have a massive negative impact on me but for some people the effects can be catastrophic.

“This time they trashed the place. I am angry more than upset and it is happening all over the country. Communities need to come together and engage in community texting. People need to be more vigilant, you can’t be cautious enough,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Holden also urged people in the community to report any suspicious activity immediately to the local gardai.