garda pursuit | 

Two prolific burglary gang members at large, two others arrested following M1 chase

The raiders are suspected of targeting a house in a border town yesterday but crashed their car after one of its tyres blew out

Robin Schiller

Two members of a prolific burglary gang are in custody and two others are at large following a motorway pursuit overnight.

The raiders are suspected of targeting a house in a border town yesterday evening but crashed their high-powered car after one of its tyres blew out.

During the break-in at the house in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, the property was ransacked and damaged but no injuries were reported.

The gang then fled in an Audi RS6 which was intercepted by armed members from the Regional Support Unit on the M1 motorway near Drogheda a short time later.

Gardaí pursued the suspects’ car, which later suffered a blow-out, causing the Audi to crash.

The four men then fled into a nearby field and two were arrested shortly afterwards. They are currently being held at Drogheda garda station under organised crime legislation. understands that the two men arrested, aged in their mid-20s and late teens, are originally from the Tallaght area.

Both are known to gardaí for involvement in organised burglaries and are suspected of being linked to a larger criminal network.

One of them is a 26-year-old criminal who is considered a key member of a cross-border burglary gang who has also been a target of the PSNI.

While two of the men were arrested, the other two suspects fled the scene.

No further arrests have yet been made and gardaí are currently carrying out inquiries to locate the other suspects.

Sources said the gang have been under investigation for some time and are suspected of using an Audi RS6 to carry out rural burglaries and break-ins along the border.

They are part of a wider criminal network operating in groups of four or five who mainly target residential homes across the country.

"This crew are essentially a sub-unit of a wider organised criminal network. They have primarily links to the Tallaght area but have connections nationwide.

"Gardaí have had great success against these gangs in recent months but when one are caught, another is straight in to carry on," a senior source said.

They had recently been using an Audi RS6, fitted which false plates, which can reach 100kmph in 3.6 seconds. The car is believed to have been used in other break-ins prior to the incident overnight.

A Garda spokesman said they are continuing to carry out investigations into the burglary in Carrickmacross yesterday evening.

"No cash or items have been reported stolen at this time. An amount of damage was caused to the property.

"A short time later, a vehicle identified as being used in the burglary incident came to the attention of Gardaí on the M1 in the Drogheda area.

"The vehicle came to a stop when it suffered tyre damage and a number of individuals fled on foot.

"Two men, aged 20s and late teens, were arrested and taken to Drogheda Garda Station where they are currently detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007," the spokesman added.

They can be held for up to seven days before they must either be charged or released from custody pending a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The most recent garda figures show that residential burglaries increased by 10pc in the 12 months up to April of this year.

However, the number of break-ins recorded is still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

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