Village thefts carried out by two neighbours

Two men who carried out a number of thefts from the village of Ballysakeery, Kilalla — within a three to four mile radius of their residences — appeared beforeBallina District Court this week.

John Clarke, with a listed address of Carrowkelly, Ballina and Gerry Hannick, Ballysakeery, Kilalla were arrested following the discovery that they had stolen gallons of diesel from diggers as well as farm machinery from farmyards in their locality.

The court heard how diesel was removed from a number of premises at night during the months from July 2007 to the end of last year, and the owners of the machinery from which the diesel was stolen were only alerted when their machines were airlocked when they started them.

As well as the diesel and farm machinery Hannick also stole a tail light from a jeep in the area as he had damaged his own. However, when he returned to remove another light he was witnessed and was reported.

Solicitor for Clarke (20 ), Alan Gannon, said that the defendant, who comes from a family of farmers, was unemployed and he described him as “vulnerable” and “easily led”. Clarke has a previous conviction for theft.

Hannick’s solicitor, Michael Bohan, said that his client has no previous convictions and said that in 2007 he had a financially difficult year which might have been a motive behind the thefts for monetary gain. Mr Bohan said that the defendant leads a “hermit-style” life and suffered from depression after he separated from his wife.

Both solicitors said that the men were co-operative with gardaí.

Judge Patrick Clyne said that “these two lads did damage to neighbours that did not do an iota to them” and that they “did nothing in isolation” even though they were facing a different number of charges.

Judge Clyne said that both will face jail unless they compensate their victims and come up with a total of €1,965 between them which was to be brought before Belmullet District Court on Wednesday.


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