Thieves ‘used closed garda station to commit robbery’
A GROUP of criminals used the grounds of a disused garda station the day after it was closed down to commit a robbery, it has been claimed.
Details of the alleged incident were revealed at a meeting of hundreds of Stepaside residents who are concerned at the closure of their local garda station.
One local told of how his property had been burgled by thieves entering through the garda station, while another explained how he had to carry out his own ‘investigation’ into a robbery due to a lack of garda resources.
Bobby Gahan (85) told of how his home was targeted the day after the station had closed its doors, describing how the “brazen” perpetrators had used the grounds of the building to carry out the crime.
“My home has been targeted twice since the station closed down, and the first incident happened the day after gardai were moved from the building.
“Hundreds of euro worth of oil was siphoned out of my oil tank, which provides central heating to my house. We believe that the thieves backed the truck into the empty grounds of the station in order to get at the oil,” Mr Gahan said.
“In another incident last year, a group broke into my house and stole my wife’s jewellery and a small amount of cash, even though the alarm was going off.
“More houses are being built in the area and the garda station has to be brought back, it’s as simple as that,” he added.
Another local resident, photographer Niall Carson, told of how he had to track down a thief who broke into his car and stole more than €30,000 worth of camera equipment.
“The equipment eventually went for sale on a ‘buy and sell’ website, but gardai weren’t able to put the hours in to track down the seller, through no fault of individual gardai. It is because they aren’t being given the resources.
“Eventually I organised to ‘buy’ my equipment back off this man, and when I contacted gardai about this they organised an undercover unit to arrest the man,” Mr Carson said.
“He was eventually caught red-handed and convicted. The gardai are doing a great job in the area but there simply has to be more resources given,” Mr Carson added.
Garda figures show that burglary has risen by 50pc in stations in the ‘W’ District of the DMR East Division, which formerly included the Stepaside station.
The number of burglary offences in the area policed by Dundrum gardai is set to increase by 46pc by the end of 2015 if the current trend continues with 854 recorded crimes, compared to 583 in 2012.
There has been a similar increase in the number of burglaries recorded in the Blackrock station, with 400 offences set to be committed by the end of 2015, compared to the 261 in 2013.