INVESTIGATING burglaries is meat and drink to gardai but surely this is the first time officers were looking for stolen beef.
Thieves broke in to Jim Flavin’s Butchers in Greenpark Shopping Centre at Punch’s Cross in Limerick city, and as well as taking the shopping till they brazenly marched out with bags of Jim’s award-winning beef.
Some have joked that it is so tasty they broke in to rob it, but the Grange man isn’t downplaying the seriousness of the crime.
“I’ve never heard of a butchers being broken into before but I suppose anything is possible these days,” said Jim.
The burglars broke in through the front door and proceeded to take out the till. Instead of fleeing with that they calmly opened up the fridges and filled up their bags from the assortment of trays.
But they didn’t just take whatever they came across.
“It was mainly steaks – fillet, T-bone and sirloins – that they took. They didn’t clean everything out, they knew what they were taking.
“It would all be meat from my own farm,” said Jim, who estimates that the loss of beef ran into the thousands of euros.
There was a small quantity of cash in the till. He buys cattle in local marts, brings them back to his own Bord Bia approved farm in Grange, Ballyneety where they are fed a specialised diet of maize.
After they are killed the meat is hung for over 21 days in his boning facility in Annacotty where it is prepared for his shops in Castletroy and Greenpark.
However, this time it wasn’t customers that were tucking in to the succulent steaks, but criminals.
There was very little damage caused, so Jim was able to re-stock and open his doors straight away.
During the horsemeat crisis earlier this year he saw a big increase in business due to his farm-to-fork approach.
“There are a lot of people talking about it. There is genuine concern out there, they want to know exactly where the beef is coming from. They value traceability,” said Mr Flavin at the time.
Gardai in Roxboro are investigating the burglary in the butchers in Greenpark in the early hours of Monday, September 23.
“We would appeal to members of the public to contact us on 061 214340 if they were driving by on that night and may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the vicinity of Jim Flavin’s Butchers.
“A small amount of cash and a substantial amount of meat products were taken,” said a garda spokesperson.
Meanwhile, it is business as unusual in his two shops in Castletroy and Greenpark, and Jim says he has specials in large legs of fresh lamb, sirloin steak, top side roast and stewing steak.
He has also beefed up his security systems to try and prevent criminals ever tasting his meat for free again.