Car thieves as young as 13 are ‘collecting’ engines for TikTok likes as GRA says more officers are needed after a patrol car was rammed

Stolen cars being driven at high speed through a Dublin housing estate have become a regular sight in an area where local Gardaí say there are not enough front-line officers to uphold the law.

Teenagers, as young as 13, are suspected of being involved in the theft of the cars – in many cases recording the crimes and sharing the footage on TikTok – and then “gathered” them around Cherry Orchard in Ballyfermot.

The trend also includes targeting certain vehicles imported from the Asian market that do not have an immobilizer and are therefore easier to steal.

The latest incident ended with two female gardaí lucky enough to avoid injury after their squad car was rammed on Cherry Orchard Avenue Monday night.

They were responding to reports of three cars circling dangerously around the property before the stolen hatchbacks crashed into the patrol car three times as the drivers were goaded by bystanders.

We’ve been asked why gardaí don’t come with lights and sirens, but the required training and qualifications aren’t available for enough drivers

Efforts are ongoing to establish the identities of those involved, who are believed to be local youth, and to determine if the incident was planned.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí are investigating whether a 17-year-old, previously arrested for stealing cars and dangerous driving, was involved.

The prolific thief is a close associate of another series joyrider who is currently in custody for a serious burglary.


Attorney General Helen McEntee. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Monday night’s incident drew criticism from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Secretary Helen McEntee, while local Gardaí have raised concerns about how insufficient resources are affecting policing in the area.

Detective Garda Mark Ferris, a Garda Representative Association (GRA) member for the DMR West Division, said: “As a local GRA representative, our members have told me and the Association time and time again that there is a major shortage of Frontline Gardaí to order to defend the law in this area, with the resources that we currently have.

“We’ve been asked why gardaí don’t come with lights and sirens, but as the required training and qualifications aren’t available for enough drivers, this often doesn’t happen.

“Recently recruited Gardaí are given permission to drive the vehicle but are restricted in the way they drive. This affects the effectiveness of their patrols.”

Det Gda Ferris said members who do not have the necessary qualifications to drive with lights and sirens fear facing internal disciplinary action if they activate them.

He also raised concerns about the technology and resources available to help frontline gardaí who feel “understaffed and undervalued”, adding that the two female members are recovering after the Cherry Orchard incident.


The moment the Garda car is rammed

“Fortunately, they weren’t seriously injured. They are of course still in shock after such a traumatic incident and as a local representative I hope they make a full recovery and that lessons can be learned from this appalling incident,” said Det Gda Ferris.

Commissioner Drew Harris described the incident as “disgraceful” and said the public order unit would stand up. It is understood this will include two vans patrolling Cherry Orchard in the coming days.

Local politicians have also raised concerns about the incident and the impact such events are having on residents.

Fianna Fail Councilor Daithí de Róiste said: “The scenes at the Cherry Orchard on Monday night were appalling. It is not right that decent members of the local community should live in fear with these goings-on.

“There must be no gardaí from Cherry Orchard being bullied. We need more resources for the local station.”

While the incident has garnered significant attention after video footage circulated online, anti-social behavior has impacted the local community and Gardaí for years.

On Halloween 2011, five members of the force were injured in a night of orchestrated violence in which two stolen SUVs were used to attack police officers.

It must not happen that gardaí from Cherry Orchard are bullied

In 2015, a Garda car was attacked with bricks and bottles in a suspected ambush as officials responded to reports of a stolen vehicle.

Sources say there is also regular information that Gardaí could be targeted in a planned ramming attack.

Just last week an upward trend in crime in the area was raised with the Senior Garda in charge of Dublin Police at a local authorities meeting on policing.

Local Sinn Féin councilor Daithí Doolan warned of scenes of around 100 people gathered to watch youths drive stolen cars through Cherry Orchard.

As neighbors welcome additional resources, they wonder how long they will last. Car thieves as young as 13 are ‘collecting’ engines for TikTok likes as GRA says more officers are needed after a patrol car was rammed

Fry Electronics Team

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