A 46-year-old Fermanagh businessman has been extradited to Belgium to begin a seven-year jail sentence for his role in the theft of heavy machinery.
Cyril McGuinness, of Teemore Road, Derrylin, was described in the European extradition warrant as an active member of an Irish criminal organisation that stole 20 trucks and cranes in Belgium and the Netherlands between 2006 and 2007 and brought them to Ireland.
He was arrested when he turned up at a court in Dublin in relation to the theft of a cash machine in Cork.
According to a Belgian newspaper report, ‘Dublin Jimmy’, as McGuinness is known, was handed over to Belgian police on Sunday afternoon and flown by military aircraft to Belgium before being transferred to prison amid tight security.
The report states that in April 2007 thieves stole a crane from a building site in the Netherlands but unknown to them it was fitted with a tracking device. That led to one of the gang being arrested and eventually to McGuinness.
The gang stole a total of 20 trailers, cranes, tractors and bulldozers, filed off the chassis numbers and fitted them with new identification plates taken surreptitiously from similar machinery. The stolen vehicles were then shipped from Cherbourg to Ireland and sold.
McGuinness was picked up on April 4, 2008 at a border crossing between Serbia and Croatia and on the way to the prison took the sim card from this mobile phone and swallowed it, as he knew it would reveal his movements. In May 2009 a Belgian court sentenced him to seven years in prison for his role in the theft.
A warrant seeking McGuinness’ extradition was issued by the High Court in Ghent, Belgium, last year and was later endorsed by the High Court in Dublin.
Cyril McGuinness, also known as Dublin Jimmy, was once described as one of the biggest illegal dumpers in Northern Ireland. He appeared in court in 2008 where he pleaded guilty to transporting hundreds of tonnes of waste from the Republic — through Northern Ireland — before dumping it at various remote locations in Scotland.