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Sniffer dogs collar cash

GARDAI OFFICERS have started to use sniffer dogs to detect illegal shipments of cash out of Ireland.

The dogs will help detectives locate money they believe is being exported by gangs to Britain and the Continent in cars and trucks. Crackdowns by the Gardai’s Criminal Assets Bureau have made criminals reluctant to bank their money in the republic.

"There’s a huge volume of cash going out through the ports," said one detective. "It’s how all the money gets to Spain to buy properties, and also there’s money leaving to pay for drug shipments and guns. The dogs have been brought in from the UK and are being used at all the ports around the country.”

Recent laws requiring lawyers and bank managers to report suspicious transactions have forced criminal gangs to use cash to pay for drugs and weapons.

Ireland is the latest country to employ sniffer dogs to collar illegal cash smugglers. Cash-sniffing dogs were first used by British customs and police in 2003 on trains from Glasgow to London.

Since then, the teams have been sent to all major British ports. Thirty percent of illegal money found by the teams is invested in policing.

The Canadian police run a similar unit that has seized more than €7m since its launch in 2002.