GARDAÍ in Cork have gone into the schools of teenagers involved in a planned looting spree in the city centre last month to warn them of the dangers of online mob-mentality crimes.
On November 8, a gang of up to 100 youths, who were dressed in black and had their faces covered, gathered in Cork city centre after a plan was shared on social media and messaging apps to organise the looting of a JD sports store.
The Garda Armed Support Unit and the Garda Public Order Unit were called in to break up the group.
It has now been revealed that gardaí have traced the identities of many of the teenagers involved and visited their schools to warn of copycat mob-rule crimes.
It's believed the Cork incident was a copycat of a raid on a JD sports shop in London.
Up to 10 schools in Cork city, and within a 20-mile radius of the city, were visited by garda school liaison officers.
It has also been revealed that two teens were arrested on the night of the planned incident in Cork for throwing objects at gardaí.
They have been directed towards the juvenile diversion program.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said that gardaí went into the schools to warn young people of the consequences of such crimes.
He said: “We have identified the schools of those involved and visited them in the aftermath of it. Young people have an individual responsibility.”
Chief Supt McPolin insisted that parents have a responsibility to know where their children are.
“Parents have a responsibility to know what their children are doing and who they are socialising with.
"Any activity of that nature can have serious repercussions for anyone involved if they are found to have broken the law.”
The incident is thought to have been modelled on a gang raid of a JD Store in London on Halloween night, which is being investigated by police in the UK.
In that incident, a gang of masked and hooded youths rampaged through the store, grabbing handfuls of branded clothing before fleeing the scene.
Chief Supt McPolin said gardaí had intelligence of the planned raid, which led to gardaí breaking up the group.
The message to organise the looting had called for a raid on JD Sports on Patrick's Street, saying: "You only have one minute to yam that shop. This is at your own risk. Don't come if you can't run.”
It had asked people to gather at Daunt's Square.