Spot checks on almost 200 garages throughout Groningen province over the past week have netted two illegal bars, two illegal lodgings, two stolen cars and 40,000 illegal cigarettes, officials say.
The checks were carried out as part of a regional approach to combat organised crime. ‘These sort of checks give us a better picture of how far this sort of criminal activity has reached and enable us to clamp down on the crime that we do find,’ Stadskanaal mayor Klaas Sloots said in a statement.
The garages were selected on the basis of police and local authority information about buildings being used in contravention of local zoning laws.
Two of the garages which were searched were being used to house migrant workers and two others in Westerwolde appeared to being used as illegal bars. Others were being used as illegal storage.
Owners and tenants were warned about the checks in advance and asked to give the police access to the garages. ‘When we did not get a reply, the police forced entry,’ Sloots said.
Police, council officials and customs officers will now follow up on the illegal finds and further checks will be made at a later date.
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