Gardaí believe the site was used for the disassembly of dozens of stolen vehicles
Gardaí say a major criminal gang with strong links in the UK was behind the operation of a so-called ‘Chop Shop’ in Co Longford, where machinery and van parts with an estimated value of over half a million euro was discovered.
Dozens of doors and engines for Ford Transit vans were among the items recovered by gardaí.
They also found diggers, dump trucks and trailers that had recently been reported stolen around Ireland and the UK.
Chief Superintendent Tony Healy said one of the most alarming aspects of the discovery was the evidence to show where vans and cars had been disassembled and quarter panels chopped off to be reconnected to other vehicles.
He said this activity presented a serious threat to road safety and gardaí had already become aware of accidents involving vehicles which had been disassembled in part.
He said gardaí had been working with the London Metropolitan Police and other police forces in the UK alongside the stolen car unit in Dublin, and the local community in Longford to monitor the activities of the gang for several weeks.
Gardaí moved in to the warehouse in the last 48 hours and recovered a lorry already loaded with construction site machinery that had been reported stolen.
Chief Superintendent Healy said he wanted to warn the public about the dangers of buying cheap machinery through online sales outlets.
He said if machinery for sale on a website looks cheap then there is an obligation on the purchaser to ensure they are not buying stolen property.
He said most of the equipment and machinery recovered at the Chop Shop in Co Longford had been offered for sale online and gardaí were now monitoring these websites on a daily basis.
Gardaí are still on site at the warehouse and are completing a forensic examination on some of the vans and other vehicles that had been cut up.