€5,000 Clonaslee tobacco theft

A LIMERICK man with 72 previous convictions who robbed over €5,000 of tobacco products from a Clonaslee filling station has been given the chance to avoid prison by paying compensation.

A LIMERICK man with 72 previous convictions who robbed over €5,000 of tobacco products from a Clonaslee filling station has been given the chance to avoid prison by paying compensation.

Billy Fitzgerald, Cloughnadromin, Ballysimon, Limerick, was one of three men who broke into Hogans Filling Station, Sharduff, Clonaslee, on April 26, 2010. Cigarettes, cigars and tobacco to the value of €5,379 were taken.

Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client had been in a car with two others when they got lost and stopped at the filling station. Observing that there was no security alarm, the trio decided to rob the shop. Mr Breen said his client was not in a position to offer compensation, as he is on social welfare of €140 a week.

“He should be getting ten months in prison, but that wouldn’t help Hogan’s filling station,” remarked Judge Catherine Staines.

The judge said she would suspend Fitzgerald’s sentence if compensation is paid and she told him to start saving €20 a week. The matter was put to April 18 next year for a probation report, at which date he must have €1,000 compensation available for the injured party.