Gardai have found four viable pipe bombs in a satchel inside a stolen car parked on a suburban street.
The significant find was made in a housing estate in Harold's Cross, Dublin, by officers involved in Operation Acer, the anti-burglary exercise targeting gangs in the Dublin region.
Gardai were checking out a line of cars parked in Mount Argus Grove yesterday evening when they spotted a silver Opel Astra, which had been stolen in nearby Terenure on October 26.
The car had been taken after burglars broke into a house and snatched the car keys from a table in the hallway.
Gardai believe the vehicle had been parked there for several days by a local crime gang.
As they were searching the Astra, they found a satchel in the boot and discovered four pipe bombs inside.
An Army bomb disposal team later confirmed the devices were viable and the area was sealed off.
A senior garda told the Irish Independent: "This is a highly significant find as some gang was obviously intent on causing mayhem with the pipe bombs and this could have resulted in serious injury to people and inflicted a lot of damage on property."
He paid tribute to the work of the Acer personnel in locating the stolen car and their recent successes in tackling the high burglary rate in the capital.
Acer has resulted in 150 arrests and the crackdown showed an initial double-digit decrease in the number of burglaries in the first couple of months. Gardai also executed 36 warrants in Dublin in a week, primarily related to burglary and theft.
Officers working on Acer, which is led by Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, are also heavily involved in tackling the travelling gangs, who base themselves in Dublin but operate largely in commuter counties with those located in Tallaght on the southside targeting Wicklow, Kildare, Carlow and Wexford and as far south as Tipperary and Cork.
Other gangs in Ballyfermot and Blanchardstown are responsible for crime sprees in Meath, Westmeath, Longford and Louth.
Gardai said last night that the pipe-bomb find showed that the criminals involved in burglaries and car thefts were also linked to bomb attacks.