Garda-Operation Thor had a very successful multi-agency checkpoints at the M1 Motorway at Balbriggan on Sunday last, the 19th February.
As part of Operation Thor, under the direction of Detective Superintendent Colm Fox, Gardaí, Revenue Customs officers and compliance officers attached to the National Transport Authority, carried out a planned multi agency operation in the Balbriggan area targeted at disrupting organised criminals who use the motorway network.
The operation was centred on the M1 motorway at junction 6, North and Southbound and connecting road networks, between the hours of 2am and 7am on Sunday 19th February 2017.
Six planned checkpoints were carried out by Gardaí attached to the DMR North Division Traffic Unit. They were assisted by the Divisional Burglary Response Unit, District Detective Unit, local and divisional based uniformed Gardaí and the Armed Support Unit. Officers from Revenue Customs and the National Transport Authority were present at each checkpoint.
During the operation Gardaí arrested a total of eleven people. Nine people were arrested for Drunk Driving Offences and one for Public Order Offences.
One man, mid 30’s, was arrested following a search of a van by Gardaí on the M1 motorway. The van was observed stopped in the hard shoulder, north of a multi agency checkpoint. Five bicycles and thirteen laptops, believed to be stolen property, were discovered in the van. A search of the foliage on the motorway embankment in the immediate vicinity led to the discovery of another bicycle also believed to be stolen.
The man was detained at Balbriggan Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 and was charged in connection with this investigation. He is due to appear before Swords District Court at a later date.
Gardaí seized 12 vehicles for road traffic offences, Fixed Charge Penalties are to be issued in due course. In total 214 drivers were breadth tested during the operation and in excess of 40 vehicles were searched.
Revenue Customs officers tested 143 vehicles for potential breaches of Excise legislation, resulting in four marked gas oil detections.
176 individuals licence holders (taxi), were checked by compliance officers from the National Transport Authority. A number of Fixed Payment Notices were issued for a range of offences. One person was detected operating without a valid small public service vehicle driver licence.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Gardaí attached to the Regional Traffic Unit greatly assisted with traffic management on the M1 ensuring the safe execution of the checkpoints during the operation.
On the previous morning, Saturday 18th February Gardaí attached to the DMR North Divisional Traffic unit assisted by DMR Traffic Dublin Castle arrested four people for drunk driving offences and seized three vehicles under Operation Surround coordinated in the Skerries area.
I have only one question – why isn’t there one or two of these operations every week throughout Ireland and extended to the likes of the main feeder routes on to the M50 in Dublin and major routes around other cities and large towns?
If this Operation Thor was converted in to a full-time unit (seconding from the multi-agencies for a couple of years), with even more resources, it would pay for itself (in fixed charge penalties, fines, sale of confiscated vehicles, etc.) and make this country a much safer and law-abiding place. It appears to be a no-brainer!