GARDAI have confirmed that 850 blank NCT certificates were taken in a raid during which staff and motorists waiting for their cars to be tested were threatened.
The raid took place on the NCT test centre in Drogheda on Saturday evening and the certs could net the raiders close to €220,000 on the black market.
"It is highly unlikely we will be able to trace them or cancel them," said a garda source last night.
The events unfolded just before 5.30pm as staff were getting ready to finish testing the final few vehicles of the day.
"These guys knew what they were after because all they wanted were the NCT certificates," the source added.
Staff told gardai that two men were involved. Both wore white boiler suits with the hoods up and had children's Halloween masks on to conceal their faces.
They believe that the men had Eastern European accents. One of them was 5ft 10in, the other was 5ft 11in.
Gardai said one of them entered the premises through the large garage door at the front – it is where the mechanics put the cars up on ramps to examine them.
The man who went in through the garage was carrying a knife and threatened staff.
The other man was carrying a baseball bat and went in the public entrance, which is also a waiting area for motorists and is beside the office where the NCT certificates are printed.
Gardai confirmed that 100 certificates were taken from the office but the raiders demanded more and an additional 750 certificates held in another area were handed over.
They were all taken along with €250 in cash and the men made their escape in a sky-blue Ford Focus C-Max.
A garda source said that a blank certificate could fetch between €200 and €250 on the black market, making the haul worth up to €212,500.