Two Westmeath women who stole clothes from a drapery shop have been asked to account for their morals.
“Have ye a conscience?” he asked Ann Marie Joyce (36 ), Ard na Greine, Moate and her sister-in-law Ellen Joyce (21 ), Hazelwood, Coosan, Athlone, who admitted stealing hundreds of euro worth of clothes from Foy’s drapery, Mullingar before Christmas.
He warned the women that he will come down hard on people who choose a lifestyle of crime over a lifestyle of work.
It was too easy he said, for a group of people to go into a shop like Foy’s, distract staff, and steal from them, leaving the owners struggling to pay rates and keep their staff employed.
Gardaí were called on December 11 last about the robbery, and soon found the women in a car with the clothes hidden under a blanket.
Between them they had five pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans, a jumper, and dolls taken from Fagan’s toyshop.
The women both have previous convictions, mostly for theft.
Judge Hughes said he remembered the women, and asked them to bring €500 to court in a week “as a gesture of goodwill for Foys and Fagans”.
He quizzed the women about whether they hadd sized up the trousers before stealing them.
Annmarie Joyce said she hadn’t done that, but she told the judge she hadn’t the money for the clothes at the time.
But she couldn’t explain why she had taken five pairs of trousers instead of one.
He put the case back for a week for the money to be produced and then he will finalise the case.
He disqualified Annmarie Joyce for two years, telling her she had used her car to escape a theft.
Ellen Joyce is due a baby on Monday and her husband is to bring the money if she is in hospital.