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Dublin: 0 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020

Gardaí target suspected poitin supplier selling to rough sleepers in Cork

Gardaí believe that up to 120 to 140 litres of alcohol were being sold a week.

Image: Garda Press Office

GARDAÍ IN CORK have seized a large quantity of illegal homemade alcohol which was being sold to rough sleepers in the city. 

A search was conducted on an apartment on the northside of Cork City this morning as a result of a joint investigation into the sale of illicit alcohol. 

Gardaí believe that up to 120 to 140 litres of alcohol a week were being sold on the streets of Cork in 500ml bottles labelled Irish Spring Water.  

Gardaí said a multi-agency operation was created as a result of an investigation into a 36-year-old suspect who was believed to be selling the high potency alcohol. 

The raid involved Gardaí, Customs & Excise officers, Food Safety Authority of Ireland officials and Health Service Executive personnel.

During the course of today’s search, a quantity of homemade alcohol, hundreds of bottles for packaging, a quantity of cash, and a baton were seized.

Gardaí said the alcohol being supplied is of high strength and has not undergone any quality controls.

cash Cash seized by gardaí during today's raid.

Speaking on the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM, Inspector Coholane said that back in June gardaí attached to the anti-social unit at Anglesea Street Garda Station became aware that a large number of people, many homeless, had been consuming a “highly potent substance” referred to as Russian poteen or Polish poteen. 

The gardaí on the mountain bikes you see in the city centre became aware of persons drinking a potent alcohol. The persons who were consuming it would pass out at an early stage having drank it.

After gardaí identified the 36-year-old suspect, they noticed he appeared to have a certain pattern in terms of his daily movements and the locations in which he sold alcohol. 

“He appeared to start off in the train station at the mornings, return home and stock up again and travel to various areas of the city,” Inspector Coholane said. 

Gardaí believe that the suspect from Eastern Europe made several trips a day into the city from his home where he was filling 500ml plastic water bottles with the high-strength ethanol. 

A garda spokesperson said that the FSAI and HSE will investigate the case with a view to prosecution from a public health concern.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

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Adam Daly

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