Massive dawn raid smashes 4x4 scam
GARDAI yesterday smashed a gang believed to have netted a six-figure profit in selling 4x4s "manufactured" from stolen and crashed vehicles.
The gang, based in the Midlands and south-east and with links to the UK, has been operating for the past 18 months.
Gardai raided 25 premises in Laois, Tipperary and Wexford and recovered nine 4x4s in one search in the Portlaoise area.
They also recovered five engines and a large amount of other vehicle parts.
The scam, which is known as 'cabbing', involves buying crashed 4x4s from legitimate insurance companies.
The chassis and engine parts are then fitted to stolen 4x4s that have been targeted by the fraudsters because they are of similar make, model and colour.
The gang then sell the finished products on websites.
Gardai told the Irish Independent last night that in the past year, 180 Toyota Land Cruisers had been stolen nationwide and only 40 of them were recovered.
The scam is operated by a number of local criminals, known to detectives, but also involves gangs connected to stolen vehicle rackets in Britain.
Officers said they had gathered a lot of intelligence and vital information from a dossier of documentation and computers seized in the raids.
It is expected that arrests will be made when further inquiries are carried out.