Christmas Day thieves up in court

Two men who spent Christmas Day breaking into businesses and trying to crack open a safe, have appeared before Mullingar District Court.

The incident lasted up to two hours and involved break-ins at three premises, and was captured on CCTV.

Liam Ward and Joseph Baker, Clonmore Heights, broke into O’Brien’s Workshop, Rover Coaches, and Mullingar Petshop which are all adjacent to each other. From Rover Coaches keys to three minibuses, a bottle of wine, and €440 cash were stolen.

Garda Adrian Regan described how they broke into a petshop next door and removed a panel from a dividing wall. They attempted to use an acetylene torch to cut open a heavy duty safe but were unsuccessful.

CCTV showed how Joseph Baker was highly intoxicated and at one stage fell through a ceiling “and was lucky he didn’t injure himself.” It later emerged that Mr Ward had caught him as he fell.

When Baker was arrested on January 10 he co-operated fully, the Garda said.

Mr Baker was less involved in the incident than Mr Ward, the court heard, and he was described as being an “anxious type” with no previous convictions. He hadn’t held the cutters used in the attempted safe-cracking, Garda Regan said.

He was very anxious to deal with the issue and had made great strides having done a sixth month addiction programme at Cuan Mhuire.

He was still finding it difficult to cope with his alcohol addiction and Mr John Quinn urged the court to think of his client “as a sick person rather than a criminal in the ordinary way”.

Speaking of Mr Baker’s previous heroin addiction he described him as a man with “ a long history of treatment but not of sustained abstinence” and suggested a prison sentence hanging over him might help him to focus.

Judge Neilan sentenced him to 22 months imprisonment and adjourned the sentence to July 16 for a progress report, telling Mr Baker he wished him well.

Liam Ward had been a heroin addict since he was 15, but was adhering to strict bail conditions since the events in December, the court heard.

Mr Robert Marren said his client said he was drug-free and was staying in and not coming to Garda notice.

The charges against him were also adjourned.



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