Cork: Gardaí arrest three men during attempted break-in

Two men arrested in home of elderly couple, as third man arrested after high-speed chase

The three men are being held in garda stations in Cork. File photograph:  Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The three men are being held in garda stations in Cork. File photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

 

Gardaí in Cork have foiled a major crime gang when they arrested three men as they attempted to burgle the home of an elderly couple.

The gang had staked out a house in Freemount near Charleville and waited for the 88-year-old man and his wife to go to Mass just before they struck at 6pm on Saturday.

Armed members of the Regional Support Unit were waiting for the gang when they gained entry by smashing a window at the rear of the house.

A 52-year-old man, originally from Togher in Cork city but now living in the Glen, and a 61-year-old man from the Dillon’s Cross area were both arrested in the house.

The third gang member, a 37-year-old man from Mayfield, fled the scene in a car but undercover gardaí continued to keep him under surveillance.

He was followed for over 20km south to Kanturk and Banteer before his car collided with a garda patrol car near Nadd on the R579 back to Cork.

The man tried to flee on foot but was arrested by gardaí following a struggle in the garden of a nearby house and he was brought to Mallow Garda station for questioning.

Meanwhile, the two men arrested earlier had been taken to the Bridewell Garda station in Cork for questioning about the break-in at Freemount.

All three suspects were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows gardaí hold suspects for up to seven days for questioning.

Garda technical experts are due to carry out forensic examinations of both the burgled house and the car which gardaí seized near Nadd.

Gardaí hailed the arrests, which follow an intelligence led-operation involving over 30 gardaí in Cork, as a significant blow to organised crime on Leeside.

One source welcomed in particular the arrest of one of the men who has a long history of criminal activity going back over 30 years on Leeside. The man has a conviction for armed robbery at a post office for which he was sentenced to eight years after he held a gun to an employee’s head.

He is also the chief suspect for a number of other armed raids and is believed in recent times to have been behind a series of break-ins at rural pubs at night.

He also has convictions for escaping from garda custody, prompting gardaí to mount a major security operation when bringing him to the Bridewell in Cork.