NewsCrime Desk

Gardai close in on 'menace to society' gang after Dublin chase

Gardai close in on 'menace to society' gang after Dublin chase

THE net is closing in on a dangerous northside Traveller gang, which has been involved in a spate of robberies and burglaries that have netted the mobsters hundreds of thousands of euro in the past year.

The Herald can reveal that, in the latest incident linked to the organised crime gang, Coolock gardai were involved in an early-morning high-speed chase that almost led to the arrest of some of the mob’s key figures.

The chase came to an end at a link road in Darndale at about 2.20am last Friday, when the gangsters abandoned their silver Ford Focus car and escaped into a nearby halting site.

Gardai then searched the vehicle and discovered more than €3,000 of tools that had been stolen from locations across Leinster.

No arrests have yet been made in the investigation, but it is understood gardai are following a definite line of enquiry.

“They got away last week but they won’t get away forever,” a senior source said last night.

“Specialist units are aware of the activities of this organised crime gang and specific operations are in place to take them down. They are a menace to society,” the source added.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the Traveller gang carried out 48 hours of “mayhem” targeting the construction trade. Power tools valued at more than €30,000 were robbed in late June by the gang, which has had direct involvement in some of the most violent aggravated burglaries nationwide.

Their north Dublin bases are in the Raheny, Darndale and Coolock areas and the mob consists of at least three Traveller families, which are linked by marriages.

Officers are planning to raid the homes of suspected gang members and have already “garnered intelligence” on the chief suspects and their countrywide network.

The criminals have targeted hotel developments mainly in north Dublin, where builders and tradesmen stay during long-term jobs, as well as building sites in the capital.

“They waited until after midnight, then they drove around to hotel car parks that they could get entry to where they could see builders’ vans,” a source said.

“They are well aware of where workmen stay and kept an eye out. They broke into their vans and stole their high-powered tools.

“It is understood that hotel car parks in Portlaoise, Co Laois, were also hit by the gang.”

The burglars are essentially three gangs operating as one for this crime spree.

Between them, they are responsible for 90pc of power tool thefts in Leinster.’ The senior source said that, while gardai are “aware” of criminal activity by these individuals, “it is impossible to watch them 24/7, but what gardai will try and do now is bring them to justice”, the source added.