Some of Ireland's mot notorious criminals are offering up to $50,000 to serving members of the police force for their official uniforms which they want to use in committing crimes.

Senior Irish police sources have confirmed to the Sunday Independent newspaper that they know that some of the most wanted criminals in the state are seeking to exploit recent cuts in salary for police because of the economic meltdown.

Recently appointed police both men and women have been approached in Dublin and other cities such as Limerick. Galway and Cork to hand over their uniforms or report them stolen. They are being offered huge lump sums at a time when their salaries have been cut.

Criminal gangs in Dublinn ar especially active in recent months say the police ."We are aware of the unhappiness over pay among the rank-and-file, but any co-operation with these gangs is a most serious offence." a statement said.

"I have heard about these offers of money for uniforms," one senior police officer told the newspaper "Any wrongful removal or use of a garda(police)  uniform is a direct contravention of the Garda Code, and there are strict penalties involved for those caught."

The  press office  said that police uniforms were State property and any sale of them represents a serious breach.