TEN vehicles and four Rolex watches are among the items seized by gardaí this morning in a swoop by the Criminal Assets Bureau in Cork.
€31,500 in cash was also seized in the operation which kicked off after 6am on the northside of the city.
Gardai and Customs officials gathered this morning in Ballyvolane before carrying out searches on the northside, targeting a gang suspected of involvement in a series of crimes.
The gang being targeted in the operation are suspected of pressurising elderly people to carry out home improvements at high costs. The gang is also being investigated in relation to burglaries, drugs offences and fraud.
Seven residences were searched, as was a plot of land, and three professional premises linked to solicitors and accountants.
A garda spokesman said: "One of the residential premises was searched under a Theft Warrant, Section 48 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, and the final one residential search was searched under a Drugs Warrant, Section 26 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977/84."
He added that the seized vehicles included Toyota HI Lux 181, Toyota Hi Lux 2015 UK Registration, 191 Toyota Landcruiser, Ford Focus Sport 181, Ford Focus 191, Ford Transit Pick up 172, 162 Kia and other vehicles.
Documentation, phones, and electronic storage devices have also been seized. They will now all be analysed.
The operation was carried out by CAB with gardaí from the Cork city division, the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU), the Southern Region Armed Support Unit, the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, the Garda Mounted Unit, the Garda Dog and Revenue Customs Dog Units.
It is being carried out under Operation Thor.
The garda spokesman said: "This organised crime gang use various paving, gardening and landscaping businesses to target elderly and vulnerable persons to deceive them of money. They use intimidation to instil fear into their victims and charge exorbitant rates for substandard work. They are suspected of extorting large sums of cash from elderly and vulnerable persons for unnecessary work and engage in theft and burglary in the areas where they carry out work."
Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Clavin said today, "This morning’s search operation is a significant development in the CAB investigation and is viewed as a major disruption to the activities of this gang".