Children as young as 7 are involved in gang-related robberies

A crime organization in Ireland has been found to be using children as young as 7 years old as operatives in burglaries.

The Independent reports that the gang, known as ‘Cock Wall,’ has strongholds in Dublin, Wexford, and Kildare, as well as some other areas in Ireland. Additionally, a senior member of the gang was arrested in the US recently and was found to be using a child as part of a burglary.

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The crime gang, which has been established for more than a decade, is the focus of Operation Thor that is being carried out by Irish authorities, who have stepped up their surveillance around the holiday season.

There are thought to be about 80 members in the gang currently. While the main leaders of the gang are two men aged 43 and 52, gardai have revealed that the gang uses approximately 16 children under the age of 12, some as young as 7, to carry out burglaries.

A senior source told The Independent that the use of young children is "particularly callous.”

"If a child that young is found trespassing inside a house, the parents can just claim the child wandered off. It makes prosecuting very difficult,” the source said.

"Even in cases where children are found with stolen property, the criminal age of responsibility being set at 12 means the children are simply sent back to their parents," the source added.

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The gang is known to target pensioners and carry out surveillance on their victims beforehand. Recently, however, the gang has moved in on “soft targets,” with a high concentration in the southeast of Ireland.

"They won't mistakenly break into the home of someone high-profile, or someone like a judge, guard or anything that would warrant extra attention.”

"This crew are doing their homework and are attempting to operate without attracting attention," the source added.