Stolen tractor ‘chop shop’ operator jailed

A Cork man has been jailed for running a “chop shop” for stolen tractors and cars.

Gerard Holland, from Bandon, Co. Cork, appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court earlier today (Friday, February 15), pleading guilty to 11 sample charges of handling stolen tractors, as well as possessing and handling stolen car parts, according to RTE.

The 65-year-old was arrested by Gardai as part of Operation Stunt.

Holland was found to be operating a chop shop in his yard in Bandon, disassembling stolen tractors and German-made cars – including Volkswagen, BMW and Audi brands – in conjunction with a Northern Irish criminal gang in Co. Armagh.

Gardai discovered that the cars and tractors he was using were being stolen on both sides of the border by a gang based in south Armagh.

Parts taken from these were then used to repair crashed vehicles of similar makes and models imported from the UK, and subsequently sold on to unsuspecting buyers, according to RTE.

According to An Garda Siochana, a total of nine stolen tractors were recovered from Holland’s dealings.

The Garda operation, which also involved the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Europol, was established in September 2016.

Stating that the defendant had “deliberately involved himself” for profit, Judge Sean O Donnabhain sentenced Holland to six years in jail with the final four years suspended.