GARDAI in south Kilkenny are hunting a gang of thieves who broke into a local Centra shop overnight and made off with a quantity of alcohol, cigarettes and cash.
The alarm in the Mullinavat shop was triggered in the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday), and proprietor Niall Mulherin notified Gardai. They were on the scene within ten minutes, however the raiders had already made good their escape.
The break-in took place shortly before 5.30 am when three men, with their faces covered, kicked in the side door. CCTV footage reveals that it took them around six minutes to do so, but once in the building they moved through upstairs storerooms helping themselves to whatever they could grab.
They then loaded the cigarettes, alcohol and some quicksale items into a small car outside, as well as the cash registers, which only contained a small amount of money. The men were unable to fit all of the stolen alcohol into their vehicle, and left some boxes outside the shop.
The shop is now back open and trading as normal, but staff and management are understandably upset at what happened. While Gardai have not said whether they suspect the thieves to be local or part of a Dublin-based gang, the incident is the latest in a spate of break-ins at rural shops and businesses.
Locations outside major cities are being targeted by criminals who locals say are exploiting an under-resourced Garda force.
Niall Mulherin, who runs the Centra shop, said that break-ins and thefts like this were unfortunately part of the territory.
“That’s the business, we have the alarm, the CCTV, but it happens,” he said.
“I couldn’t fault the Gardai on their response, they were efficient. But they aren’t given the equipment they need to keep up with alot of the criminals.”
Last week, nine people were arrested during a Garda operation set up to target burglaries in the south-east. Seven men and two women, from juveniles to mid-50s, were detained at Garda stations in Kilkenny, Thomastown and Carlow.
Four of these individuals appeared in court last Friday morning. The other five were released, and investigations continue.
Anyone who has any information on the Mullinavat break-in, saw anything suspicious in the area, or was in the locality at the time can contact Gardai in Thomastown on 056-4441222 or Garda Confidential on 1800-666111.