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Major alert Notorious burglary gang using 'landscape business' to target vulnerable elderly people

Gardai are investigating three incidents linked to the crew in which people aged in their 70’s were targeted by the gang


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One of Ireland’s most notorious burglary gangs have taken up gardening duties, the Sunday World can reveal.

A major garda alert is in place for a black Mercedes van used by the ‘Cock Wall’ crime organisation which has been spotted driving around targeting elderly people in Dublin and Kildare.

A father-and-son who are considered key members of the gang are suspected of being involved in their latest scam.

“The van has strimmers and ladders attached to it and is being used to fool vulnerable elderly people into thinking that they are a legitimate business,” a senior source said.

Gardai are investigating three incidents linked to the crew in which people aged in their 70’s were targeted by the gang in Tallaght, Crumlin and Sallins, Co Kildare.

In recent weeks, there was an incident in which an OAP paid over €600 for a “power washing job” in south Dublin and another man was duped out of a similar amount of cash for a “gardening job.”

The gangsters were rumbled when they attempted to carry out a similar crime in the Crumlin area but were observed by local detectives who quizzed them and noted details of the van they were travelling in.

They were not arrested but remain under close scrutiny by gardai.

The incidents have happened as detectives are becoming increasingly concerned about a nationwide spike in burglaries, including incidents where criminals have been impersonating gardai in an attempt to gain access to the homes’ of elderly people.

In recent weeks, small sums of cash have been stolen by criminals using this modus operandi in counties Meath, Cavan, Wicklow and Kilkenny.

Criminals from Co Wexford who were nominated as suspects in these cases have been ruled out and gardai from all the different divisions are trying to identify who is behind the crime wave.

“Essentially they pose as detectives when they knock on the door of the property so they can get access to a house and when they get in there, they are in there to rob,” a senior source.

“Thankfully in these recent incidents, no violence has been used and the amounts of money stolen has been actually fairly small,” the source added.

The notorious ‘Cock Wall’ gang are not suspected of being involved in this particular type of crime.

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Last month, we revealed that the gang whose strongholds are in counties Dublin Kildare and Wicklow are suspected of using children as young as six to carry out their crimes.

They are led by a veteran criminal in his 70s, with a number of prolific burglars in their 40s leading subcells of the organised crime group who prey mainly on old people.

The youngest person linked to the gang is a six-year-old boy, while several juveniles are also believed to be used by the adults to commit burglaries and thefts.

The gang has been targeted in several garda operations in the past two years but is still highly active.

At least a dozen of its closest associates have been charged over separate burglaries and other crimes in Dublin, Meath, Kildare and the west of Ireland.

However, gardaí suspect they are still operational in burglaries nationwide after being granted bail by the courts.

They include a prolific burglar in his late 40s who is currently facing serious charges over at least two separate burglaries in two counties.

He and a number of younger associates are believed to be involved in a recent crime wave, with investigations into the burglary cell continuing.

The Cock Wall gang carry out detailed surveillance in groups of four or five before blitzing a rural town and then using the motorway networks to flee the area.

While the criminals prefer to use stealth to break into homes, they have been known to use violence when confronted. There have also been concerns about them when intercepted by gardaí as they escape, often by ramming patrol vehicles and using any other means necessary to get away.

They have been ruled out of an horrific aggravated burglary last week in Co Sligo last week and another one in Co Kilkenny – both of which are suspected of being carried out by local criminal gangs.

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