Drumshanbo's local professional instrument thieves have reported a highly productive 2014 due to the increase in visitors to the Joe Mooney Summer School.
The snatchers who call themselves 'The Sticky Fingers Gang' reported a 40% increase in their haul of musical instruments. The gang's activity increases every July when they target pesky teenage traditional musicians.
"I think we provide a public service as much as anything. These people come here uninvited to spend their money in OUR village. The cheek! If they decide to come here and do that then we have the right to take the opportunity to make some money for ourselves!"
The gang use highly refined techniques to steal the instuments such as waiting until people's backs are turned and also have a designed a full-proof disguise. This includes a dull looking zip-up hoodie with it pulled up over their mouth and the hood pulled down to create a slit for their eyes.
Many instruments had a lucky escape, as banjo tutor Maggie Carty explained to us how she found an unattended mandola lying on the street: "I picked it up knowing that it was just asking to be stolen. I handed it into one of the pubs there before it could be snatched!" Upon hearing this, 'The Sticky Fingers Gang' lamented it as 'the one that got away'.
When asked how they will move on the instruments the gang say that they plan to set up a stall in Miltown Malbay during the Willi Clancy Summer School as "it's the last thing people would expect us to do".