Revenue’s new ‘ZBV’ mobile scanner deployed to target smuggling

Today (13/11/19) at the New Custom House in Dublin Port, Revenue Commissioner, Mr Gerry Harrahill, formally commissioned Revenue’s new, state of the art, ‘ZBV’ mobile scanner.

The new scanner cost €1.1m and was part-funded by a grant of €550,000 from the European Anti-Fraud Agency, OLAF, under its Hercule III Programme. Mr Harrahill expressed the thanks of the Revenue Board to OLAF, for their financial support in the acquisition of the new scanner.

Speaking of Revenue’s role in safeguarding Ireland’s fiscal, social and economic welfare, Mr. Harrahill said that 

'with continually changing economic and business environments, Revenue’s challenge is to constantly anticipate emerging risks and respond to them effectively. Revenue implement customs controls in a manner that supports legitimate trade, while effectively managing compliance risks and tackling illegitimate trade.'

The new scanner, deployed in Dublin Port earlier this year, is a vital resource in Revenue’s strategy to target fiscal fraud, fuel fraud, and the supply of illicit drugs and tobacco products, with a view to disrupting the supply chain, seizing the illicit products and prosecuting those responsible.

Acknowledging record levels of goods handled in Irish ports and

'increasingly inventive and complex smuggling methods and concealment techniques,'

Mr. Harrahill said that

'the new mobile scanner uses Z backscatter technology that is proven in the detection of drugs, tobacco products and other contraband, particularly when concealed within the likes of freight consignments. The flexibility and speed of the ‘ZBV’ mobile scanner significantly increases Revenue’s scanning capacity and provides an unobtrusive and non-invasive way to examine cargo with minimum disruption to legitimate trade.'

Addressing an audience that included members of An Garda Síochána, Mr. Harrahill said that

'Revenue works closely with counterpart agencies nationally and internationally in actions aimed at intercepting and preventing drug trafficking, fuel fraud and the smuggling of tobacco products and cash.'

Mr. Harrahill referred to the effectiveness of on-going joint operations conducted by Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána. One such operation, in June this year, resulted in the seizure of herbal cannabis worth €1.9 million that had been destined for the Irish market.

Referring to an illicit tobacco market that continues to be one of the most profitable areas for organised crime groups operating in the European Union, and globally, Mr. Harrahill said that

'Revenue remain pro-active, vigilant and agile in the fight against tobacco smuggling. In March 2018, a Revenue led operation resulted in the discovery of Ireland’s first counterfeit cigarette factory while in March 2019 Revenue officers seized 2.3m cigarettes worth over €1m in Dublin Port.'

In tackling and confronting the challenges of smuggling and the shadow economy, Mr. Harrahill said that

'Revenue’s strategy is underpinned by a robust foundation of data analytics, intelligence and risk profiling and our resulting actions contribute to tackling organised criminal activity.

We focus on maximizing the effectiveness of Revenue legislative powers and on optimising deployment of all our resources. The ‘ZBV’ mobile scanner is an important addition to our resources, and in our continued determination to target all forms of shadow economy activity.'

[ENDS 13/11/2019]