Thieves wreck bar owned by McCanns

19 March 2008
The Sun
Paddy Clancy

Raiders ram Maddie gran's pub

Callous thieves have wrecked a pub owned by missing tot Maddie McCann's distraught Irish gran Eileen. The thugs used a car to smash their way into the bar on St Patrick's Day -just hours after Eileen had paid a visit. She leases the village pub in St Johnston, Co Donegal, to pal Joe Peoples.

The heartless robbers rammed through the back door and escaped with about Euro 5,000 of booze. Joe revealed: "They cleaned me out of everything that was on the shelves except the Gordon's gin."

The defiant publican quipped: "They must have heard the saying 'gin makes you thin'."

Gardai are chasing up intelligence that the robbery was the work of a Donegal gang with a market for the drink across the Border. The crime was committed between midnight on Sunday, when the pub was locked up, and 8.30am on St Patrick's morning, when Joe arrived to open up.

He said: "The door was lying in the yard. There was evidence it'd been rammed."

Neighbouring publicans rallied around and helped him re-stock by 10.30am.

Joe added: "To have kept it shut would've been to let the thugs get the better of me."

Eileen inherited the pub premises from late hubby Johnny and was in the area for his anniversary Mass last Saturday.

She visited the pub before her departure back to England on Sunday. She will spend Easter with Maddie's parents -her son Gerry and his wife Kate.

Joe added: "It's been one thing after another. First she lost Johnny, then Maddie vanished."

And he recalled a very different visit to the bar last Easter - when Eileen brought along Maddie. He said: "She was a dote, running into everything."

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