A SECOND haul of money, which was being held as potential evidence in a court case, has disappeared from a garda station in north county Dublin.
Officers discovered the disappearance of €4,000 from a locker at Balbriggan while investigating the theft of €9,000 from a safe in the station earlier this year.
Gardai seized the cash during a drugs search in 2009 and it was being stored in the locker as further inquiries were made.
But after the criminal investigation was completed, it was decided that no charges would be brought.
Gardai said last night that an application should then have been brought before a district court judge to decide what should happen to the money.
But the application was not brought and the money remained in the locker.
Gardai did not become aware that the money had gone missing until inquiries were under way into the theft of €9,000 from an evidence bag that contained €26,000, which had been recovered by officers after a robbery at a post office in Lusk, Co Dublin, last January.
Last week, a rank-and-file garda in his 30s was arrested at his home and taken to Irishtown garda station, where he was detained for questioning until the early hours of the following morning.
Gardai are satisfied that the €9,000 was stolen rather than mislaid. They are now trying to establish if the two incidents were definitely linked.
But they said the disappearance of the €4,000 would result in a criminal investigation and could also lead to disciplinary proceedings.
As well as trying to establish the whereabouts of the money and how it disappeared from the locker, senior officers are also examining if proper procedures were followed in the storage of the money and if any gardai in the station were aware that it had gone missing.
Earlier inquiries established that the €9,000 was taken from the strongroom after a hole was cut in the evidence bag.
It was part of a haul seized from a getaway car, which had been intercepted and blocked by an anti-crime patrol responding to an alert about the raid on the post office. The haul was initially checked and then photographed, fingerprinted and forensically examined before it was bagged and tagged as potential evidence.
The discrepancy in the amount was discovered in February when John Wilson, the owner of the Costcutter shop where the post office is located, sought the return of the cash.