'bizarre' | 

Garda in hot water after turning suspected drug dealer's seized canoe into flower planter

The “bizarre incident” saw the garda seize the canoe as potential evidence indicative of the suspected drug dealer’s wealth

Ali BrackenSunday Independent

A garda in Co Louth is the subject of an internal disciplinary investigation after he seized a canoe from the home of a criminal during a drugs raid and later repurposed it as a flower planter in his back garden.

The “bizarre incident” saw the garda seize the canoe as potential evidence indicative of the suspected drug dealer’s wealth. It is understood a number of other items were also seized during the targeted search.

Protocol dictates that when gardaí seize items in the course of their duties they must be logged and kept in storage, should they be relevant to any potential criminal trial.

In addition, persons who have items seized from them by gardaí are also entitled to attempt to have their belongings returned through legal mechanisms, if they can prove the items were not purchased through the proceeds of crime.

In the case of the canoe, it is understood the drug dealer was renting the house that was raided.

In the aftermath of the search, the landlady of the property told the garda he could take the canoe if he so wished, as he indicated he may have some use for it.

The garda accepted the landlady’s offer and repurposed the canoe — which is believed to have been cracked.

Because the garda failed to officially register the canoe as a “gift” from the landlady of the property — who is in no way involved in criminality — he is now at the centre of the probe.

When contacted, a spokesman for Garda Headquarters declined to comment. The garda at the centre of the investigation has not been suspended.

Sources say the matter is not at this stage considered “a serious matter by any stretch” but that it was “an unfortunate turn of events and the garda probably should have known better”.

It is believed the repurposed canoe is no longer being used as a flower planter.

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