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In plain sight Criminal gangs using abandoned cars to store drugs and guns in housing estates

With people working from home and more people living in their family homes, residential areas are crowded with cars making it easier for criminals to hide vehicles in plain sight.

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Criminal gangs are deliberately using abandoned cars to store drugs and stolen goods in housing estates among residents’ vehicles.

This week it emerged garda searches of abandoned cars led to the discovery of €74,000 worth of drugs and €25,000 worth of stolen tools in west Dublin.

With people working from home and more people living in their family homes, residential areas are crowded with cars making it easier for criminals to hide vehicles in plain sight.

Mark Ward, Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Mid West, said the use of cars by criminals “is absolutely nothing new” but has been made easier for them with so many people now working from home.

“People are parking their cars anywhere they can, as close as possible to their home, so no-one actually knows who owns what car.”

“These criminals have noticed this, they have seen they are able to park cars left in housing estates that would have other cars parked there for a long period of time before it comes to the notice of either the public or the guards.”

“With the amount of cars being parked up, don’t forget we’re in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s an awful lot of people working from home, there’s more cars being parked in housing estates than normally.”

Details of the garda searches in Lucan and Ronanstown emerged this week during a council Joint Policing Committee meeting.

The use of parked cars by criminals gangs was apparent during the height of the Kinahan Hutch feud with ‘kill-kits’ set up for assassins to use.

Gardai foiled one planned gangland hit when they found two handguns, ammunition and a can of petrol in a stolen car in 2016.

Officers from Finglas Garda Station made the discovery after searching a vehicle that had been reported stolen two weeks previously.

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Similarly in February 2017 officers seized a loaded revolver and ammunition in Dublin’s north inner city close to the home of a member of the Hutch family being targeted by the Kinahan cartel.

During a search of the unoccupied cars the loaded firearm, ammunition and a petrol container were found.

Another discovery in 2019 in Finglas, a sawn-off shotgun and .22 handgun were found in a parked car and may have been there for weeks.

It is suspected a gang involved in a feud with ‘Mr Flashy’ were storing weapons in unregistered cars to be used for attacks.

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