ATM cash raid foiled as heavily-armed gardai swoop on notorious 'Mr Tiger Kidnap' gang
One of Ireland's most notorious gangland criminals, dubbed 'Mr Tiger Kidnapping', was in garda custody last night after his gang were caught by heavily-armed gardai.
The 38-year-old gangster and two of his trusted associates were arrested by members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau just before they were about to target an estimated €500,000 due to be delivered to an ATM.
The dramatic arrest unfolded in Dunboyne, Co Meath, at around 9.30am yesterday when officers arrested two criminals hiding in a "bunker room" behind the cash machine.
A third suspect was arrested in a getaway car that was to be used to speed away from the scene.
Senior sources have told the Herald that all the arrested men were wearing "three layers of clothes" in an attempt to avoid forensic detection.
At least one of the criminals was wearing a bullet-proof vest and officers recovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun, which was being forensically examined last night.
A G4S security van, which was believed to contain over €500,000 in cash, arrived at a disused bank in Dunboyne where there was an ATM to be filled.
Gardai were lying in wait and two men were arrested at the scene. Gardai are attempting to establish how they managed to break into the empty room at the rear of the ATM. Another man was arrested a short distance away in the car.
The bust was part of a major surveillance operation that had been ongoing for weeks.
Gardai had been monitoring the gang as they carried out their own surveillance on the ATM.
The 38-year-old arrested crime lord suspected of masterminding the heist has been a major target for specialist gardai for over a decade.
Also in custody are two of his closest associates, including a well-known criminal from Hartstown in west Dublin.
Arrested with him is a 39-year-old thug from Duleek, Co Meath, who recently served a lengthy prison sentence.
He was sentenced in relation to a 2006 seizure in which officers found €315,000 worth of cocaine, a bulletproof vest, a balaclava, two stolen high- powered cars and a stolen motorbike during a raid on a drugs mixing factory.
However, it is the arrest of his 38-year-old pal, a former close associate of recently freed gangster Alan 'Fatpuss' Bradley, that has brought gardai the most satisfaction.
Gardai were previously informed that the 38-year-old received military training in Bulgaria by special forces.
The north Dublin thug suspected of being behind the raid is considered one of Ireland's smartest criminals, and has a taste for the high life.
"This fella is no junkie, he likes the finer things in life and, of course, this includes the women he surrounds himself with - some of them are absolute stunners," a source said.
"He was involved in armed robberies even when he was a young lad, but he is one of these criminals that has just decided to move to the next level and he has done that in spades.
"He is a suspect in up to a dozen tiger kidnappings but has never been convicted in relation to any of them - mainly because his gang is so forensically aware," the source added.
The Blanchardstown gang boss, who has links to an international criminal network, is said to have a deep hatred of prison and was said to be "disgusted" with jail conditions after spending a few months on remand there in 2012.
Since his release from prison over four years ago, he has been monitored by specialist garda units, but he has not been under constant surveillance.
However, he was stopped by armed gardai in October 2014, and a number of suspicious of items were seized from the criminal and an associate.
It is believed they were carrying out surveillance of a target.