Teens buying old cars for joyriding on the increase

By Mary Dennehy

THE sale of cars to underage teens has been highlighted as a growing concern by gardai at Tallaght, as instances of young people buying old vehicles and rallying them around estates before abandoning them continues to rise.

In recent months, reports of joyriding have been on the up alongside the number of abandoned and burnt out cars littering estates both in Tallaght and neighbouring communities.

Abandoned car Glenshane 27042017

According to South Dublin County Council, there has been an “overall increase” in the number of abandoned vehicles in South Dublin County since the start of the year - with 123 cars removed from estates in the past four months.

Speaking with The Echo, a Garda spokesman for Tallaght Garda Station said: “We have noted an increase in the number of youths purchasing old cars that are suitable for scrapping, they are buying the cars and then driving them around estates in Tallaght.

“Members of the community have been bringing this to our attention in recent times and we are investigating incidents as they arise.

“This is not a safe practice and we would encourage people to act responsibly when disposing of a car and to do so through a scrap yard or motor dealer.

“People have a responsibility to their neighbours to dispose of a car responsibly and it’s also an offence not to contact the motor taxation office and inform them of a car being sold on or scrapped.”

The spokesman added: “We’re asking people not to sell a car to anyone under the age of 18.

“These cars are being driven around estates without tax and without insurance… and pose a danger to communities.”

The sale of cars to minors is also believed to have led to an increase in the number of abandoned cars in estates, with many communities seeking answers on who is responsible for the removal of these vehicles – and who is liable for any damage caused.

Most recently, residents in Glenshane woke up to an abandoned vehicle left in a dangerous position on the corner of a busy junction, obstructing the view for both motorists and pedestrians.

After a number of complaints were lodged with gardai at Tallaght, the car was removed later that day.

However, as reported previously in The Echo, not all reports of abandoned or burnt out cars have been dealt with as quickly.

When contacted by The Echo, Mary Maguire, of the council’s environment section, said: “The council exercises the powers bestowed on it through the Waste Management Act in the management of abandoned vehicles.

“This act prescribes that a person who places a vehicle at the place where it is abandoned is guilty of an offence, and that the registered owner is responsible.

“Under the provisions of the act every effort is made to contact the registered owner of the vehicle in writing, and where this proves impossible, the vehicle is removed by the council.”

She added: “Being required to give due process, it may take six weeks to deal comprehensively with an abandoned vehicle for which there is a registered owner.

“In other circumstances where the vehicle is merely a shell, and there is no means of ownership identification, the vehicle may be removed almost immediately.

“The Gardai are responsible for situations where the vehicle is considered to represent a traffic hazard and also for situations where the vehicle in question is “of interest” having potentially been involved in criminal activity.”

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