By Kieran O’Mahony
GARDAÍ have not ruled out a connection between a spate of petrol station burglaries in West Cork and Kerry, where in some instances phone lines and ESB cables were cut to access the premises.
In response to these recent break-ins, gardaí have stepped up both uniform and plainclothes patrols, as well as more checkpoints at particular times of risk.
The first burglary took place at a petrol station at West End in Rathmore outside Killarney on September 18th between 1am and 6am. A number of suspects entered the petrol station through the back door and took cash and stock from the premises. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, gardaí in Macroom are also appealing for witnesses in relation to a burglary at the Tria Petrol Station at Béal na Bláth on Friday September 20th between the hours of 1am and 6am.
‘A number of suspects entered the shop and proceeded to take cash and stock from the premises. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing by gardaí in Macroom.’
The third burglary took place at a petrol station in Ballinspittle between September 20th and 21st. A number of suspects entered the petrol station and took cash and stock from the premises. No arrests have been made and gardaí in Bandon are investigating this incident and can be contacted on (023) 8852200.
In response to these recent break-ins, gardaí are advising businesses not to keep cash on site overnight where possible. They are also advising business owners to have CCTV backed up regularly and stored in a safe place, along with back-up alarm systems in operation. ‘Gardaí have attended incidents recently where phone lines and ESB cables have been cut, as well as extensive damage caused to the property in order to break into businesses,’ said a garda spokesperson.
Cork West divisional crime prevention officer, Sgt James O’Donovan appealed to all business owners to be extra vigilant at this time, due to increased criminal activity targeting commercial premises, in particularly any petrol stations in West Cork.
‘It is imperative that business owners or managers have good quality CCTV, hard drive safely stored, monitored intruder alarms with sufficient shock sensors at potential entry points and back-up alarms in case intruders try to disarm systems,’ said Sgt O’Donovan.
‘There should be minimal or no cash exposure, time lock safes, sound cash-handling habits, good opening/ closing procedures, as well as keyholder policy.
‘Safe storage of cigarettes is also very important, and ensuring efficient stock controls of this product are in place,’ he advised.
Sgt O’Donovan added that if anyone needs advice on how to keep their premises safer, be it home or business, they can contact him on 023-8852261/ 086-0448209 or email [email protected]