Nearly 50 officials were involved in coordinated searches on a number of sites in north Cork as part of an operation designed to halt the alleged illegal storage and transportation of scrap metal.
The dawn raids, which took place in Charleville, involved Cork County Council personnel, Gardaí, customs, the Special Investigation Unit of Department of Social Welfare and the ISPCA.
The raid, which was coordinated by Cork County Council’s waste enforcement team, started at 6.30am and went on for several hours at four sites around the town.
A spokesman for the county council said they seized three truckloads of waste.
“The waste included end-of-life vehicles and associated parts and other waste, including engines and car batteries which were removed off site to prevent environmental pollution,” the spokesman said.
He added that the waste would be taken to “an authorised treatment facility” where it would be recycled.
In addition one vehicle was seized for diesel offences by customs officials.
A large number of people were also interviewed by the Special Investigation Unit of the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners.
Information gathered in relation to Social Protection and Revenue issues during these interviews will now be followed up on.
The county council spokesman said its investigation was ongoing and that further action may follow.
The council’s dog wardens and the ISPCA also impounded two dogs and five horses.
It is understood that officials had carried out surveillance on the sites for some time prior to pouncing yesterday.
Superintendent Pat McCarthy, who was in charge of the garda part of the operation, said his men had seized a number of weapons during the operation.
He said these included slashhooks, meat cleavers and baseball bats with nails hammered into them.
Armed gardaí from the Regional Support Unit (RSU) were present as uniformed gardaí, detectives and specially trained sniffer dogs combed the sites.
Gardaí had entered them armed with search warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
However, they recovered no drugs and no arrests were made.
Supt McCarthy said that the garda investigation was ongoing, while the county council spokesman said they would continue to monitor the sites to ensure that no unauthorised activities resume there.