Major criminals pocket €4m a year from racket
MORE than 7,000 cars were stolen in Ireland last year. And with an average market price of €10,000 per car, gardai estimate the country's major gangs can earn as much as €4m from their activities each year.
Much of this money is used to fund wholesale purchases of illegal drugs which are then sold on to other criminal gangs for distribution.
Detective Sergeant Finbarr Garland, head of the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Unit, said that most stolen cars were taken directly from outside people's houses.
"Whatever you do, don't leave your car keys on the hall table or in your jacket pocket," he said.
He also has the following tips for anyone buying a car on the second-hand market:
- Arrange to meet the seller at his or her house; avoid any meetings in hotel or supermarket car parks.
- Be suspicious of sellers who drop their asking price too quickly, especially if they offer a large discount for a cash payment.
- Commonly used tactics to pressure a buyer into a sale include the seller claiming to have another appoint-ment set up or an imminent emigration arranged.
- All cars should come with two sets of keys. If only one set is available, ask what happened to the other.
- Closely examine the Vehicle Identification Number. It should be displayed beneath the front windscreen and on the chassis. If the two sets of numbers do not match, contact the Gardai.
- Never pay with cash.