Gardaí not sitting on the fence when it comes to retail crime

Garda John Finnerty.

GARDAÍ in Limerick, and across Ireland, will be pulling out all the stops to curb illegal trading and organised retail crime over the holiday period.

From Christmas shopping to January sales, the holidays are the time of year when businesses carry their most trade – with some retailers reporting that up to a third of their annual income can be taken in across the weeks leading to December 25.

In an effort to protect businesses nationwide, and crack down on damaging organised retail crime, Gardaí commenced ‘Operation Táirge’ earlier this month.

Operation Táirge is aimed at detecting and preventing organised retail crime (ORC), which, according to Garda John Finnerty of Henry Street Garda Station, “typically refers to situations where a number of persons are acting together, targeting retailer outlets to steal significant quantities of goods to resell back into the retail supply chain through the black market”.

“It can also involve refund fraud with the purpose of making a financial or material benefit. ORC is usually co-ordinated and well organised by people who recruit others to commit theft from retailers,” Garda Finnerty said.

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Goods stolen as part of organised retail crime efforts are often re-sold to a third party (known as a ‘fence’) who either sells them on at a particular location or, in some cases, sells them online in what is known as ‘e-fencing’.

Operation Táirge will see Gardaí nationwide take a spectrum-wide sweep on reducing ORC, including efforts towards using an intelligence-led approach to identify criminals engaging in retail crime; disrupting the most prolific criminals in operation through the use of organised crime legislation and proceeds of crime legislation; and working with retailers to strengthen their security and prevent them from becoming victims of criminality.

Gardaí will also be putting extra effort into supporting those in the retail sector in being able to report crimes and deterring young offenders from becoming involved in organised retail crime by raising awareness of the consequences of committing such crime.