‘Substance abuse issues’ was the excuse given by two Portlaoise men for stealing loose change from unlocked cars in a local housing estate.
Before last week’s sitting of the district court were James Heffernan, 18 Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, and Andrew Murphy (22), 115 Hillview Drive, Knockmay, Portlaoise.
Inspector Maria Conway gave evidence that in the early hours of May 10 this year, at Rathevan View, Portlaoise, two males were observed entering unlocked cars in the area. They attempted to flee the scene, but the gardaí located them and they were arrested.
At the garda station they were searched and loose change stolen from the cars was found on them.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that Heffernan was serving a three-year sentence, with a release date of 2019.
He said his client had substance abuse issues at the time of the offence.
Judge Catherine Staines imposed one-month in prison.
Andrew Murphy had six previous convictions.
Mr Meagher said that he too had experienced substance issues at the time, but these are now dealt with.
Mr Meagher said that Murphy had cut all his former associations in the town and if the court was willing to give him a chance he would not come to adverse attention again.
Judge Staines said that even though it was only €3 that was taken the incident must still have been very upsetting for the owner of the car.
Ordering the accused to pay €100 compensation, Judge Staines imposed 150 hours’ community service in lieu of six months in prison.
The matter was adjourned to October 12 for a community service report.