A Mountmellick man who shoplifted from two Portlaoise stores on the same day has been warned that unless he engages positively with the probation services he will be going to prison.
Thomas Hickey (38), 20 Twomey Park, Mountmellick, was charged with two counts of theft.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on December 7 last, at 4pm, the accused stole a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of Captain Morgan rum, to a total value of €50, from Mulhalls Supervalu, Lyster Square, Portlaoise.
He hid the bottles down his jeans, but was apprehended and the property was recovered.
On the same date, he stole a phone charger and charger cable, worth €7, from Eurogiant.
This property was not recovered.
The accused had 18 previous convictions, including five for theft.
Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said that these thefts were “not the most sophisticated enterprise in the world” and had occurred in the midst of a relapse into an alcohol addiction.
He said the accused had been homeless in 2018 and dabbling in drugs, but he had then served time in prison and since his release was doing well and keeping clean and sober. Then he had a relapse two weeks before the thefts, said Mr Fitzgerald.
“This was a blight on the road to recovery,” said Mr Fitzgerald, adding that the accused now attends AA.
Judge Flann Brennan told the accused that the only way to deal with someone with a criminal record like his was to send them to prison. However, the judge directed a probation report and said that if it is positive he would impose a six-month sentence and suspend it.
He warned the accused that he would not suspend the sentence if the report was not positive.
The matter was put back to April 16 next for a probation report.