GANGS are targeting self-service cash machines in supermarkets and car parks in a major cash-laundering operations.
Gardai believe it is part of a sophisticated method to overcome rigid security systems introduced by firms in recent years in order to clamp down on cash-in-transit robberies.
Criminal gangs are believed to be visiting machines, such as express self-service checkouts at supermarkets, to launder dyed stolen cash.
Following a spate of cash-in-transit robberies, companies such as Securicor have upped their security measures which include the fitting of special cash 'smoke' boxes in all vans.
The cash is kept in reinforced boxes that automatically detonate a dye bomb if opened.
The cash is covered in dye if tampered with, making the money useless. The measures were also introduced by banks such as AIB following a spate of robberies in North Dublin.
However gangs have now found a way around the measures -- leaving companies on high alert, according to security sources.
Gangs initially wash the dyed notes in diesel solutions which effectively cleanses the notes of much of its ink.
The cash is then split up to launder after being pressed and washed with gang members targeting anything from vending machines to self-service tills. It means individuals are inserting individual dyed notes in machines before receiving the change in legitimate cash.
The operation is successful as the machines only recognise the metal stripes on notes and do not detect when cash has been dyed.
Despite the method being labour-intensive and time- consuming, gangs are believed to be carrying out the crime on a frequent basis.
Since the enhanced security systems have been introduced in 2008, robberies of its kind have only declined marginally.
There were 26 cash-in-transit thefts in 2008, compared with 24 in 2009 and 21 last year.
Between January and June of this year, there have been 18 cash-in-transit robberies.