Gardai use toll camera details to fight crime
INFORMATION on whether a driver has passed through certain toll barriers has been sought by gardai to confirm alibis and to investigate tiger kidnappings and cloned plates, the Irish Independent has learned.
Gardai investigating criminal activity have accessed data on almost 200 drivers using the M50 toll road so far this year.
This is because of the installation of hi-tech cameras rolling 24 hours a day to replace the hated toll booths on the Westlink bridge in Dublin.
Toll operators Bet Eire Flow said that gardai have accessed data on motorists using the road 192 times since the start of the year. Some 189 "illegal" cars have also been pictured on the road.
These include cars reported as scrapped, vehicles with cloned plates and cars which were exported but re-entered the market.
Head of Communications at Bet Eire Flow, Simon McBeth, said yesterday that cloned vehicles were put on a watchlist and the system flagged cars which passed under the tolling cameras.
"The issue with cloned plates is very simple," he said. "In other countries like the UK I have to go with my logbook and utility bill to prove I am who I say I am when I get a licence plate. Here, you don't. You just ask for a plate and are given the number."
The company has been in contact with the Department of Transport, which holds information on vehicles in the National Vehicle Driver File, in relation to road tax issues.
Meanwhile, some drivers continue to engage in reckless and dangerous behaviour to escape the toll.
Cars have been pictured tailgating behind HGVs, adding extra digits to their number plates, using 'cloned' plates from other vehicles, blocking numbers and covering the licence plate so it cannot be read.