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Residents in the border villages of Carrigans, Killea and St Johnston have issued a warning to criminals that the days of a ‘free run’ in their areas are over.

The rapid decline in local gardai numbers has resulted in establishment of the first Facebook Crime Alert site where, it is hoped, the level of surveillance by the community itself will dramatically increase and be widely available.

Speaking yesterday one of the administrators of the site, who did not wish to be named publicly, said that after three or four incidents of home heating oil being stolen, break-ins at a car, the stealing of two vintage bikes - all within about six houses of each other - it was decided that it was time to hit back.

“We believe this is the way to go. It’s a high tech solution to a modern problem. The crime rate was causing real concern for people, particularly old people living alone.”

Since the site got up and running only a few weeks ago the level of activity has shown a massive increase.

“We have only started but anyone can see that people here are now taking note of strange cars. We are also passing around information on the site of strangers door-stepping homes in the area without any obvious reason.

Our informant said: “We never had the kind of bother like we are having now so we have got to get more urgent reaction. This is not about vigilantilism; we won’t allow that at all. But, sad to say, the reality is that if you are waiting for a garda to come from Lifford or Letterkenny you could be waiting a long time.

“We want to complement the work of the gardai but as far as we are aware there is only one dedicated garda for the villages of Manorcunnigham, Newtowncunnigham, Killea and Carrigans.

“Not even robo-cop could deal with that.”