Call for police focus on robbery gangs

Sinn Fein councillor Colin Kelly. (2112MM11)

Sinn Fein councillor Colin Kelly. (2112MM11)

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The PSNI in Derry need to focus on catching criminal gangs responsible for a string of robberies in the city recently, according to Sinn Féin councillor Colly Kelly.

Colr. Kelly made the call after a number of armed robberies at shops and business premises in various parts of the city since the beginning of the year.

The Cityside colr. said he had spoken to a number of business people who are worried about the recent rise in incidents. Staff have been threatened with guns, knives, baseball bats, and other weapons during the robberies. Luckily no- one has been physically injured in any of the incidents to date.

“There is a growing concern in the city about the rise in the number of robberies of business premises over the past few months. There is a particular concern about the high number of robberies in the general Bogside and Bishop Street areas,” he said.

Colr. Kelly said the robberies can often be traumatising ordeals for the people who work in the business premises.

“In less than a mile there have been eight robberies of shops, bookmakers and fast food outlets.

“During these robberies staff have been threatened with weapons such as suspected firearms, sledgehammers, and batons. This comes on top of a number of break-ins at businesses premises and charity shops in the city centre,” he explained.

St Eugene’s Cathedral was among the buildings which have been broken into in the area in recent weeks.

The Sinn Féin colr. said that action must be taken now to prevent more robberies taking place. “People are very worried about the regularity of these robberies and that the news of these incidents is starting to lose its shock factor they are happening that often,” he said.

Colr. Kelly called on the PNSI to make catching those responsible for the robberies a priority.

“We cannot allow this to be become the norm in our city. I am calling on the PSNI to put a special focus on apprehending the criminal gangs responsible.

“Those terrorising our communities need to be taken off the streets and taken before the courts,” he said.