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Tuesday 23 September 2014

The day I found €10m in my shed

Jimmy Guerin

Published 20/04/2014 | 02:30

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Jimmy Guerin pictured in Howth.  Picture: Gerry Mooney
Jimmy Guerin pictured in Howth. Picture: Gerry Mooney

IT started with a phone call on Wednesday evening: "Jimmy, I think there is bogey money in the stores."

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This was the moment I found myself at the centre of a drama over €10m in counterfeit notes that made headline news last week.

I had agreed to let out a unit in Baldoyle, north Dublin, and was called by a guy who was preparing the space for a delivery.

Two pallets of boxes stored by another person had to be manually moved.

In one of the boxes being moved, the guy moving them had found a number of sheets of paper. Each sheet contained four €50 notes and in one box there was 2,500 sheets.

I immediately went to Baldoyle and examined the box; yes it contained €500,000 in forged notes.

I asked the lad to open another box and there it was – another half million, then another and another.

I guesstimated that we were looking at more than €10m. Straight away I realised that this was something big. I knew I had to call in the gardai.

I got to know a number of the gardai involved in the investigation into the murder of my sister, Veronica Guerin, and a few more from my time writing in the Sunday Independent.

So I knew who to call; thank God the politicians have not yet had the time to run all the good men out of the force.

Although it was late in the evening, the gardai I know in the force are fully committed, they work 24/7 so contacting them was easy.

When I spoke to one senior officer and described the content, he realised straight away what I had come across. He told me to leave it with him, stay where I was and he would deal with it. There was no flashing lights, no squad cars screeching. The garda who was in charge of the unit that deals with counterfeiting investigations arrived at our premises within 20 minutes.

He examined the find and straight away took control, made some calls and then more lads arrived and they had discussions relating to the find.

Still no sirens, still no fuss, just a professional approach to their work. They decided to place plain-clothed gardai at the scene to guard it for the night before commencing their work in the morning.

When I arrived to work the next morning, there was no outside evidence of a crime scene, just another garda team working away with a plain-clothed lad politely ensuring that they were not disturbed by a nosey passer-by.

By mid-afternoon they had completed their work at our premises, thanking those of us who had assisted in providing the odd cup of coffee or whatever.

Sunday Independent

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