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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020

What happens to the things that the gardaí or Revenue seize?

We take a look at what happens to the cars, jewellery, cash and drugs that are seized or recovered by Irish authorities.

Bikes lined up and ready for auction on behalf of the gardaí..
Bikes lined up and ready for auction on behalf of the gardaí..

LAST YEAR, Customs and Revenue officials seized millions of euros worth of illegal drugs and contraband tobacco, as well as 1.04 million litres of fuel and €1 million in cash.

But what happens to all of the stuff the Revenue and the gardaí seize?

Illicit substances (such as drugs) and bootleg gear (including DVDs) are “brought somewhere and destroyed when no longer needed for investigations,” according to a garda spokesperson.

The Revenue Commissioners office says that all drugs, alcohol products, counterfeit products and contraband tobacco are “destroyed under official supervision”.

Meanwhile, fuel which has been seized and forfeit to the state is recycled and used in the manufacture of products such as bitumen and tar, a Revenue spokesperson told

Vehicles seized and forfeit to the state are either sold by tender if they are roadworthy, or sent for scrapping. Any proceeds are lodged with the Exchquer, as is any cash seized under Proceeds of Crime legislation which the courts rule is forfeit to the state.

If the courts rule it should be returned to the person from whom it was seized, the cash is returned.


In terms of lost or recovered property, the gardaí maintain two Flickr accounts (one for bikes and one for all other lost property) and try to post the more valuable items online in an effort to locate the owner. Items lost in taxis in the Dublin area are held by gardaí in Finglas, Irishtown, Shankill, Store Street and Tallaght Garda Stations.

For items that remain unclaimed for a year and a day, an application is made to the courts regarding their ownership. If forfeit to the state, the items are then collected together and sold.

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Merlin Auctioneers in Naas, Co Kildare acts on behalf of the gardaí in carrying out a number of sales throughout the year of lost property. Bicycles and cars are the most popular auctions, but Merlin’s Joanne Cranley says that the ‘miscellaneous item’ sales have a “phenomenal” attendance.

Those sales involve items ranging from jewellery and sports kits, to tools and equipment.

“We put together a list of the miscellaneous items and list them on the website in advance,” Cranley told “We’d hold about six [auctions] or so a year. The next one is around the 12 May.”

A Garda spokesperson said that the proceeds of the auction “are lodged into the Central Exchequer”.

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