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'Traumatised' Pensioner (71) had bleach sprayed over his home by masked gang during horror burglary

The victim was “pushed around” before being forced to sit on a chair while the thugs ransacked his home in Co Kilkenny

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Thomastown Garda Station

Thomastown Garda Station

Thomastown Garda Station

A four-man gang terrorised an OAP at his rural home last night in an aggravated burglary in which they sprayed bleach all over the property in an attempt to destroy forensic evidence.

Gardai are urgently appealing for witnesses to the crime in which a 71-year-old man was terrorised in a “planned attack” by an organised criminal gang.

The shocking incident happened between 7pm and 8pm last night at the man’s home located close to the Co Kilkenny village of Inistioge.

Senior sources say that the criminals, whose faces were covered with snoods and masks, burst into the property and told the “vulnerable” victim that they were investigating a case.

The victim was “pushed around” before being forced to sit on a chair while the thugs ransacked the home.

“They grabbed the man’s mobile phone and then went from room to room basically tearing the place up and spraying bleach as they went along,” a senior source said.

“The culprits took the battery out of his mobile phone and anytime that he got up they pushed him back down.

“He is a vulnerable elderly person who has been left deeply traumatised by what has happened,” the source added.

After the raiders fled from his home, the 71-year-old man, without use of his own phone, was able to raise the alarm by going to a neighbour’s property and gardai were then notified of the incident.

A small amount of cash was stolen in the burglary which gardai believe was carried out by a gang based in the south east of the country who have been linked to a number of similar crimes in the past year.

There have been no arrests so far in the case which is being investigated by Thomastown gardai who have received reports of a “loud car” being in the area at the time.

Bleach has been commonly used by criminal gangs in recent years to destroy forensic evidence.

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Sources say that there is no link between the aggravated burglary in Inistioge and the robbery of a shotgun from an unoccupied property in Callan, Co Kilkenny, which also occurred last night.

The aggravated burglary in Co Kilkenny last night happened at around the same time that another similar crime happened in Co Sligo which has been the focus of an appeal from Gardaí.

“At approximately 7pm, a number of men forced their way into a property on the N59, Skreen, Co. Sligo and assaulted a man in his 70s. He was brought to Sligo University Hospital to be treated for his injuries. A sum of cash was also taken during the incident,” a garda spokesman said this morning.

“Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to come forward. They are keen to speak to anyone who was in the Skreen / Dromard area, from 4-8pm yesterday who may have witnessed anything to come forward.

"They are particularly keen that anyone who may have camera footage from this area at this time (including dash-cam) to make this available to investigating Gardaí,” he added.

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