As part of the ongoing Operation Thor, gardaí have arrested three men and recovered a large amount of property following a search operation in the early hours of Thursday morning 29 September 2022 in Co Laois.

A van was observed on the M7 at Ballydavis in Portlaoise and was signalled to stop by gardaí. The vehicle stopped and was subsequently searched.

A large quantity of suspected stolen property was discovered by gardaí, including a chain saw, a quad, a strimmer and a trailer containing a power washer.

Three men were arrested at the scene and later taken to Portlaoise and Kildare Garda Stations, where they remain detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Gardaí have also confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

Operation Thor

The winter phase of Operation Thor will begin Saturday 1 October 2022 and run until the end of March 2023, undertaking targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting the reduced hours of daylight.

Research indicates that in Ireland and elsewhere there can be a surge of up to 20% in this form of crime during the winter months, when daylight hours are at the lowest level.

Burglary is most likely to take place during the hours of 5pm to 9pm on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday during the winter months.

To date this year, there have been 6,100 residential burglaries reported

Since Operation Thor was introduced, burglary and related offences have steadily declined and figures show that there has been a 36% reduction in the rate of such offences when compared to the pre COVID-19 levels in 2019.

To date this year, there have been 6,100 residential burglaries reported. During the same period in 2019 there were 10,297.

Speaking on Friday, assistant commissioner Paul Cleary said: "Residential burglary has a traumatic and often lasting effect on victims.

"We are especially aware of the need to protect the most vulnerable and older persons who may be fearful of their home being burgled.

"I want to reassure people that gardaí nationwide are as determined as ever to target all of the activities of the criminals involved to ensure that we detect crime in advance.”

Focus points

Operation Thor winter phase will continue to focus on five main areas to reduce burglary incidents and protect communities.

1. Crime prevention and protecting communities: by means of visible focused patrols at specific times of day, targeting burglary hot-spots, intelligence gathering on known offenders, high-visibility checkpoints to prevent ease of movement, strong crime prevention communications and reassurance with communities.

2. Crime investigation and operational activity: by ensuring every burglary is appropriately investigated to the highest possible standard, monitoring crime data daily for changes in trends of burglaries, associated crimes and detection rates. Utilising all intelligence data to inform burglary prevention strategies.

3. Working in partnership: by continuing to work with all partner agencies in local and national Government and in particular with communities by means of offering crime prevention advice and reassurance of the availability of An Garda Síochána.

4. Education and awareness: by the use of community policing strategies to interact with young people and work to divert them from involvement in crime. An Garda Síochána will continue to utilise social media, community engagement and organised campaigns to inform people on how they can enhance the security of their homes and property.

5. Victim support: by keeping the victim central to the overall operation and providing professional support, advice and regular case updates to victims.

Simple steps can help protect your home, so whether you are at home or going out remember:

  • Turn on some lights - LED bulbs are more energy efficient than traditional bulbs.
  • Use timer switches and motion detectors.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Use an alarm.
  • Store keys away from windows.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of cash or jewellery in the house.
  • On 20 September, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris launched An Garda Síochána Property App.

    The An Garda Síochána Property App is a newly developed mobile app that allows the public to index and record their personal property, for example, jewellery, electronic equipment, bicycles, laptops, farm machinery, etc.

    In a situation where the user has their property stolen, the app has the facility to report the theft to An Garda Síochána. This feature allows the user to select the item(s) that was stolen and easily and securely report the theft to An Garda Síochána.

    An Garda Síochána promotes the property marking of your property. Property marking engagement days are held by local community policing units and regularly highlighted on An Garda Síochána social media sites.