PICKPOCKETS from Romania, Croatia, Lithuania and Brazil have been arrested by gardai, some only days after entering the country.
Almost 50 suspects were arrested in connection with the theft of smartphones as part of an ongoing operation codenamed Aughrim.
The operation was being led by officers from Pearse Street in Dublin, and most of the arrests were made on the southside of the city.
Along with 27 Romanians and one each from Croatia, Lithuanian and Brazil, 16 Irish people were arrested. Many of the suspects were known to international police forces.
Gardai also stopped and searched 57 others they believed to be pickpockets, but they were not charged with any offence.
As well as this country, they came from Kuwait, Algeria, Turkey, Lithuania, Poland, Libya, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Morocco, Brazil and Romania.
Three of those who were arrested were Romanians who had arrived here by car from the UK. One has since returned to the UK and was arrested by police there yesterday.
The latest arrests were carried out over a five-day period around St Patrick's Day.
They also resulted in the seizure of dozens of mobile phones, cash and other stolen personal belongings.
"Organised crime has many faces," Europol director Rob Wainright said.
"What sometimes seems just an example of petty crime is often part of a larger conspiracy orchestrated by international criminal networks."