Grocer (74) discovers shop broken into for third time in recent weeks

Retailer Gus O'Hara has praised gardaí for successfully apprehending armed robbers

Nephew says rural area needs greater gardaí presence



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2 February 2015

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A 74-year-old grocer in Ardfert, Co. Kerry is “extremely distressed and shook up” after his small grocery shop and adjoining house was last week burgled for the third time since November.

Jimmy Collins has owned and run his popular grocery shop for the past 58 years.

After forcing their way inside the shop, robbers smashed the cigarette machine and trashed the store as well as the adjoining living quarters. They took hundreds of euros worth of cigarettes from the machine and a substantial amount of cash.

The incidents happened when Collins, who is a bachelor and lives alone, was on holidays in Tralee.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, his nephew Justin Horgan said there needs to be a much stronger garda presence in the village.

He described Jimmy’s grocery store as “very much a traditional Irish grocery shop, which sells things like penny sweets for the kids. There wouldn’t be a huge amount in the shop, but the entire place was completely ransacked”.

“The first two times the burglaries occurred, there was only one or two things taken, but this time they completely ransacked the place,” he said.

“Without a garda presence in the town, there is no deterrent against this sort of thing. You can’t put a price on protecting the elderly,” he added, explaining that there always used to be gardai around the village, whereas now the community only had a local guard based in Tralee, who visits for a couple of hours during the week.

He also said his uncle had to install CCTV cameras and fencing around his property in an attempt to protect himself. While praising the efforts of local gardai, he added that the repeated instances of crime only proved the need for a permanent local garda presence.

Horgan also told the Kerryman newspaper that he feels the perpetrators are watching his uncle’s movements, as the robberies only happened when he was away in Tralee.

“Something must be done about this,” he said. “My uncle will soon turn 75, and it would kill him to have to close the shop.”



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