Stolen cars used in late-night motorway racing

Henry Street Garda Station.

OWNERS of certain makes of car in Limerick are warned to take extra precautions after two vehicles were stolen in the early hours of Wednesday last (May 17) from Castletroy and Corbally, with thieves allegedly using them to race one another.

The first was a red Mazda Demio with a 132 D registration, which was stolen from the Briarfields area in Castletroy between 12am and 5am on Wednesday morning.

The second car was a white 162 L Toyota Aqua, which was stolen from a house in Shannon Banks in Corbally, also between midnight and 5am.

According to Gardaí, the two cars were involved in multiple acts of dangerous driving around the city and county.

Both cars stopped at a petrol station in Castletroy around 5.52am, according to Garda John Finnerty from Henry Street Garda Station, who said the drivers filled the cars up with petrol and drove off without paying.

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Both cars were later seen driving recklessly on the M7 motorway from Birdhill towards Limerick at 7.45am. Eyewitnesses noticed that they appeared to be racing each other,” said Garda Finnerty.

The red Mazda was later seen driving dangerously between Bruff and Kilmallock at 9.15am,” he explained.

The Mazda was then found and recovered by Gardaí at Deebert Park, Kilmallock, at approximately 11.15am.

The Toyota was seen driving dangerously around the green in Garryowen at 9am.

Gardaí later recovered the car burned out at the canal bank next to St Mary’s Park at 9.30am. They believe both thefts are linked, and are urging owners of Japanese imported cars to take extra precautions.

Garda Finnerty explained: “Thieves are currently targeting second-hand Japanese imports as, unlike in the EU, Japanese cars are not required to fit an immobiliser. An immobiliser is an additional security devise on a car that prevents it from starting unless the correct key or key fob is used.”

There has been a noticeable spike in the theft of Mazda Demio models, the Toyota Aqua model, and the Toyota Vitz model in recent weeks in the Limerick Division.

“If you are buying  a car, ask the car dealer if the car has an immobiliser fitted. If it hasn’t, you can get one fitted retrospectively,” he advised.