Updated: 23/02/18 : 06:25:50
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Leitrim publican confirms armed locals chased burglars

A group of Co Leitrim locals, some of whom were armed, pursued burglars for hours after a recent burglary in rural Ireland.

The story was part of last night's Prime Time on RTÉ where they examined the impact of burglary gangs in Ireland. See link below.

The programme featured CCTV footage of gangs breaking into homes as well as video from An Garda Siochana of pursuits by the Garda helicopter.

Footage of burglars entering the Newtowngore home of Leitrim publican Gerry Gorby is also shown.

Gorby revealed to reporter Fran McNulty that having disturbed the burglars a group of locals, some of whom were armed, searched for the raiders after their getaway car crashed less than a mile from the remote village.

Gorby told the show: "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 asked the publican: “Were some of those people armed?"

Mr Gorby confirmed they were and adds: "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."

One of the burglars caught on CCTV entering Mr Corby's house in Newtowngore, Co Leitrim

The programme also featured the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) President Antoinette Cunningham, who raises concerns over policing these crimes.

"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."

A Prime Time spokesperson said: "The incident highlights the level of fear felt as a result of burglaries, which are occurring almost daily all over the country.

"Despite Garda statistics late last year which indicated burglaries were decreasing, one interviewee told Prime Time that some Gardai feel the issue had reached 'epidemic levels'"

Link: RTÉ Prime Time is available for the next 28 days on RTÉ Player HERE