GARDAI have described as “very successful” a major raid on a halting site on the southside of the city during which a considerable amount of stolen property was recovered and 19 horses impounded.
More than 40 gardai, including members of the armed regional response unit descended on Clonlong halting site in Southill before 8am on Monday as part of Operation Bliain, which is targeting traveller gangs suspected of carrying out burglaries across Limerick.
The high profile operation, which was launched by Chief Supt David Sheahan earlier this month, is linked to a nationwide campaign - code-named Operation Fiacla - which was launched by the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan in response to a dramatic increase in the number of burglaries taking place across the country.
In addition to detectives from Roxboro and Henry Street garda stations, officials from Limerick City Council, customs officers and revenue inspectors also took part in Monday’s pre-planned raid which lasted for a number of hours.
Sources have confirmed that every property at the halting site was searched during the raid.
“No stone was left unturned, we looked everywhere we could,” said one source.
Two men who obstructed gardai were arrested during the raid for breaches of the Public Order Act and two more were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a large number of burglaries at homes and businesses across Limerick city and county.
All four men, who are aged in their 20s and 30s were questioned at Roxboro Garda Station following their arrest.
Det Insp Tom O’Connor, Henry Street, who led the operation confirmed that a variety of stolen property including power generators and electrical equipment were recovered at the halting site.
A number of on-the spot fines were also issued by customs officers after quantities of illegal diesel were found in a number of vehicles which were located at the halting site on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for Limerick City Council told the Limerick Chronicle the impounding of 19 horses was the single biggest seizure in the city so far this year.
“We have had large seizures elsewhere in the city this year but this was the biggest operation to date,” said the spokesperson who added that all of the animals were brought to a pound in Cork where they will be destroyed unless they are claimed by their owners, who will be required to pay a release fee.
So far this year, more than 150 illegal horses have been seized at locations across Limerick city.
“We are committed to enforcing the bylaws and Monday’s operation, which was the biggest so far this year, is proof of that,” said a spokesperson for the local authority.