“This is really, really crazy” - Canning

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A Newtowncunningham councillor has said the number of recent robberies and other serious incidents in the area is ‘really, really crazy”

Fianna Fail councillor, Paul Canning yesterday told the Journal that an attempt to rob a shop in Newtown’s main street on Friday evening was the fourth such incident in the area in recent times.

According to Gardai a man armed with a large knife entered a shop on main street Newtowncunningham around4pm But luckily the man failed in his attempted robbery of Gerard McDaid’sgrocery and butchery. It’s believed he had an accomplice, a lady who drove a convertible car which was seen heading ntowards the border.

Speaking with the Journal yesterday Colr Canning said he and fellow councillor, Gerry Crawford had met with acting Garda chief in Letterkenny, Pat O’Donnell, to convey their concerns to him.The councillor said: “What’s happening is ridiculous, it’s unbelievable.

“It’s hit and run, hit and run. These guys pick a shop, decide to come in with a knife or baseball or whatever and attempt to intimidate whoever is behind the counter to hand over the cash.

“It’s becoming like the wild west. They hit a premise, jump in a car and before the gardai can even respond they are over the border and home free.”

Colr Canning said he ‘totally accepted’ that even if there were a lot more gardai available it would still be very difficult to prevent this sort of crime.

He said: “Day and daily there is a massive traffic route to and from Derry and Strabane into this county. And vice versa. Unless we sealed up the border again it would be impossible to prevent this.

“But what we have to say is the lack of garda personnel both in Inishowen and Letterkenny districts has almost ensured places like Newtown and east Donegal is a free for all for these guys.”

Pointing out too that the good weather had brought out a lot more visitors to the county Mr Canning said he had little doubt there would be further ‘opportunistic’ crime .

Last week there were two major incidents.

Near Raphoe two elderly sisters were robbed and attacked in their home late on Monday evening by a gang of men/

One of the sister’s was pushed to the floor and sustained a broken hip.

In another incident a man armed with a knife entered one of the busiest filling stations in the county, Daly, in Lifford and got away with a sum of money after threatening staff.

Colr Canning said he would appeal to both business and members of the public to be vigilant and not to leave property lying around and to secure their homes and vehicles