Republic of Ireland news

Safe dragged from office in upsurge in cross border crime

Gardai believe a northern-based gang is behind an upsurge in criminal activity
Seamus McKinney

A CRIMINAL gang has used a rope to drag a safe from a Donegal oil company in an overnight cross-border raid.

Gardai believe a northern-based gang is behind an upsurge in criminal activity and is using Co Donegal's border with Derry and Tyrone to escape apprehension.

In the latest raids overnight on Tuesday, a four-man gang tied a rope to a safe at Tinney's Oil on the outskirts of Letterkenny. While they managed to drag the safe into a yard, the thieves were interrupted before they could break it open.

Gardai and members of the Tinney family rushed to the premises after they were alerted by alarms at 4.30am yesterday in time to meet the criminals as they made their getaway.

While they were unable to break into the safe, the gang stole €450 (£400) which was being used as a cash float. The damage caused was estimated at €10,000 (£8,900).

In a separate incident at Raphoe, criminals attempted to break into a supermarket in the centre of the village. Staff at Coyle's Centra said four men tried to break in through an upstairs window and the front door but were unable to do so when gardai arrived on the scene. It is not known if the two incidents were linked.

A Jeep used in a ram raid at a border pharmacy at Newtowncunningham last Wednesday was later found abandoned in Derry. The increase in thefts and raids in Donegal border areas has caused widespread concern with a community meetings called to discuss the threat.

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