Homeless man stole cylinder to buy food

A Portlaoise man who claimed he entered a house and stole a copper cylinder to sell on for €20 because he had not eaten for five days was last week ordered to pay compensation to the injured party.

Before the district court was Seamus Coss, previously of no fixed abode but now with an address at 25 Glenkeen Park, Fairgreen, Portlaoise, charged with burglary, at 25 Emmet Street, Mountmellick, on March 22, and entering the same building with intent on March 25.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that gardaí received a complaint of intruders entering the premises on March 25, while the house was empty.

The gardaí went to the address and found Coss asleep on a mattress. He admitted entering the house on March 22 and removing copper pipes and a cylinder, causing €800 damage.

Coss had 35 previous convictions.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that 24-year-old Coss has one child with his girlfriend, and he was homeless during March as his girlfriend had asked him to leave the house due to his substance abuse.

“He got involved into going into (25 Emmet Street),” said Mr Meagher, explaining that Coss’ sister used to live there. Mr Meagher said that “some individuals” with Coss had taken the copper pipes, while Coss himself took the cylinder and sold it on for €20.

“He hadn’t eaten for five days,” said Mr Meagher, explaining that Coss had used the money to feed himself.

Mr Meagher said that Coss would be willing to pay compensation, but it would take about one month to save.

Defence concluding by saying that Coss is no longer abusing drugs and has since secured accommodation.

Judge Catherine Staines imposed 200 hours’ community service in lieu of ten months in prison, and ordered Coss to pay €800 compensation.

The matter was put back to June 26, with Judge Staines warning him to have the money in court on that date.




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