45 vehicles seized in VRT blitz

A total of 45 vehicles were seized at VRT checkpoints in Inishowen and elsewhere in the county over two days, it has been confirmed.

Customs officers undertook a blitz at 11 locations around the county on Thursday and Friday, but a spokesperson for the Revenue Press Office told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that for “operational reasons” they could not confirm their exact locations.

However, the ‘Journal’ understands that checkpoints in Inishowen included those located in Muff, Quigley’s Point, Lisfannon and Burt. A further checkpoint was set up at Burt yesterday.

A spokeperson added that for “operational reasons” they also could not confirm a breakdown of seizures by location and checkpoint or the number of warnings issued.

They did confirm that there were five Marked Mineral Oil detections. There were reports on social media that a motorist was accompanied from a checkpoint in Muff to a nearby cash point to obtain money to ensure the release of his vehicle. The spokesperson said:“Where vehicles are seized as liable to forfeiture, they can, in some circumstances, be released on payment of a compromise penalty.

The offender may be in a position to pay the penalty at the time; alternatively, the offender may contact somebody to bring the compromise penalty sum to the checkpoint. In certain circumstances, at the request of the offender and if operationally possible, a Revenue officer may transport the person to the nearest cashpoint, so that they can secure the penalty amount and release of the seized vehicle. If the compromise penalty is not paid, the vehicle is seized and removed to a secure compound.”

They added that “voluntary compliance” with vehicle registration and taxation requirements is “actively encouraged by the Revenue Commissioners.”

“The use of checkpoints or enforcement is primarily pursued to seek prompt registration and payment of VRT in respect of vehicles brought permanently into the State.”

Anti-VRT campaigner Ryan Stewart told the ‘Journal’ that while there were 45 vehicles ‘seized’ this did not mean they had all been taken away, as some would have been released to their owners after payment of the ‘compromise penalty.’

He said the facebook page ‘Abolish VRT Campaign’ had seen increased activity in recent days, with many new members.