Gardai have seized a €100,000 camper van and two other vehicles in a crackdown on Traveller gangs suspected of being involved in organised burglaries and handling stolen property.
Officers raided a halting site in the Baldoyle area of the capital's northside yesterday morning.
The Herald can reveal that of the five bays raided at the halting site, all had "brand new top-of-the-range caravans and vans", even though all the owners are claiming social welfare.
It is for this reason that Revenue customs officers accompanied gardai on the raids which were led by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and backed up by specialist gardai including officers from the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation unit.
It can be revealed that some of those targeted in the five raids in Baldoyle have links to notorious rapist John Gavin (30), who threatened and assaulted gardai at the halting site when they raided it in September 2016 and seized €1,454 of coins that had been taken in a cash-in-transit robbery.
Gavin is serving a one-year prison sentence for that offence on top of a six-year term for raping a woman in a Dublin city centre hotel in 2012.
"Some of those targeted in this operation have suspected links to John Gavin while others are believed to have close links to another notorious Traveller family," a senior source said.
"The Public Order Unit and Armed Response Unit were deployed because gardai have been met with savage aggression when raiding that site in the past, including when John Gavin threatened officers with a husky-type dog and encouraged others to attack gardai."
There was no such drama yesterday when the €100,000 camper van, a Volkswagen Transporter worth €20,000 and a VW Golf valued at €13,500 were seized.
As well as the vehicles, around £3,500 (€3,950) in sterling was found and gardai seized a woman's Rolex watch while also making two arrests as part of a robbery investigation and one as part of an assault investigation.