Gallery: Armed locals in Leitrim pursue burglars for hours through fields

Problem of repeat burglary offenders

Leitrim Observer reporter

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RTÉ’s Prime Time  last night examined the problem of repeat burglary offenders and the impact of the criminal gangs with dramatic CCTV footage of a burglary gang breaking into to homes.

The programme revealed how a gang were recently chased by a group of locals - some of whom were armed - following a house burglary in County Leitrim.

The incident occurred in Newtowngore earlier this month when local publican, Gerry Gorby disturbed burglars as they ransacked his home in the village. Customers at his pub and other locals pursued the getaway car, which crashed a short distance from the scene of the crime.

Gerry Gorby told RTÉ Prime Time, “A good gang of lads got out even the local gun club got out with lights, tried to pursue them through the fields for about four hours in all.  They were looking in all the fields around the area to try and get them”, reporter Fran McNulty asks the publication, “Where some of those people armed?”, Mr Gorby confirmed they were and added, “We don’t know that would have happened if we came across them, that’s the frightening thing for them and for the other people in pursuit of them”

The incident highlights the level of fear felt as a result of burglaries, which are occurring almost daily in all parts of the country.

RTÉ Prime Time also went on patrol with Gardai in Laois/Offaly where a specialist taskforce has been setup to tackle burglary and intercept many of the gangs travelling across the country, the programme also features footage of the Garda helicopter monitoring high speed chases and the arrest of burglary suspects.

Despite Garda statistics late last year which indicated that burglaries were decreasing, one interviewee tells the programme that some Gardai feel the issue had reached “epidemic levels”.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors raises concerns about how the force polices the crime, President Antoinette Cunningham says, “the concern for the AGSI is, Operation Thor is primarily run from an overtime budget. And any policing initiative that relies on an overtime budget is liable to be susceptible if that money is taken away.”