Gardai to raid markets as burglaries cut by half in four years
The senior officer in charge of the garda's massive clampdown on burglary gangs has revealed a number of raids will be carried out on markets across the country in the coming months.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, who is in charge of special crime operations, told the Herald gardai will "target the sale of goods stolen in burglaries" in a series of raids of markets over the summer.
His comments came as the garda announced residential burglaries during the winter fell by more than half over the past four years after Operation Thor was put in place.
"The winter phase of Operation Thor runs from the start of October until the end of March each year," a garda spokesman said.
"The year-on-year reduction is almost 10pc from 6,613 residential burglaries during winter 2017-18 to 5,997 during winter 2018-19," the spokesman added.
The use of 73,000 checkpoints across the country last winter also helped gardai in their fight against the gangs.
More than 12,000 homes were robbed during the winter months four years ago but by last winter this had dropped by more than half to under 6,000.
Mr O'Driscoll welcomed these figures, stating: "The positive conclusion to the winter phase of Operation Thor is encouraging and we will refocus and build on that success in Operation Thor during the summer months.
"We are particularly aware of the vulnerability of older victims and are determined to apprehend those who exploit their vulnerability."
The senior officer also praised the work of the garda's anti-burglary unit, describing it as "particularly effective" in arresting members of burglary gangs who travel back to the capital at night by using the country's motorway network.
Mr O'Driscoll said he was unable to give a number for how many burglary gangs there are because of the "fluid" nature of these crime groupings.
"We often see that it can take sometimes as little as two people to go on a burglary spree and these people join up with different gangs depending on where they are going to target," he told the Herald.