'Operation Trivium' cracks down on motorway gangs
Gardaí are involved in a 24-hour operation targeting criminal gangs from foreign countries operating here, as well as Traveller burglary gangs.
Yesterday saw the introduction of numerous checkpoints across the country, as part of the pan-European operation known as Operation Trivium.
Last night, 26 vehicles had been seized and 12 arrests had been made. They included one arrest for drugs offences, and one in west Dublin where gardaí seized pepper-spray, which is classed as a firearm, and a small hatchet.
Six disqualified drivers were taken into custody, as well as three drink drivers. Foreign gangs operating in Ireland are a cause of major concern to gardaí and one of the most notorious of these mobs is the so-called 'Hole in the Roof gang', who are suspected of being behind a crime spree that has netted hundreds of thousands of euro in stolen cash and cigarettes.
Gardaí are investigating the same gang for dozens of robberies of shops and service stations, from Co Sligo to Co Wexford.
Another foreign mob who have been investigated by specialist gardaí are an organised crime outfit who stole €100,000 of cigarettes from a moving truck, which was travelling at over 80kmh on a motorway. The theft occurred on a 50km- stretch of the M7 at around 5am on Monday, March 2, 2015.
This type of crime, which is becoming more prevalent in continental Europe, has been nicknamed by police authorities as a "Romanian roll-over".
However, it is not just foreign gangs who are being targeted as part of Operation Trivium.
Officers were last night also trying to disrupt the activities of the six major crime gangs and 200 repeat burglars identified as using the country's motorway system for a massive crime spree.
"Trivium is a multi-agency road policing operation designed to tackle foreign national offenders and indigenous travelling criminals who utilise the road network to target local communities, many of whom are part of organised criminal gangs," a garda spokesman said.
The last Trivium operation led to 897 arrests in the UK.