A PAIR of burglars and two homeless men were able to celebrate the festive season in style after a twist of fate and an alleged alarm failure allowed access to a top restaurant.
In a bizarre incident, the two burglars broke into a restaurant and then left the door unlatched for a return visit -- but when they came back they found two homeless men had entered the premises.
So the four sat down to Christmas dinner together -- and it was all captured on CCTV.
According to documents submitted to the Circuit Civil Court yesterday, the two burglars broke into the Brasserie Sixty6 restaurant in Dublin through a rear door one Christmas Eve when the Georges Street venue was closed.
After casing the restaurant and making off with a quantity of drinks and a "takeaway" of food, they left the door unlatched for a return visit.
But on Christmas Day, two homeless men who happened to pass by a laneway found the restaurant's rear door ajar and entered the premises.
They soon settled themselves into what the restaurant describes as its "funky and stylish surroundings".
They spent the day sampling fine wines from the restaurant's "expertly chosen wine list" and tucking into food they found on the premises, which typically includes "poultry reared on natural foods", bread from artisan bakers and carefully sourced meat and fish from local fishmongers and butchers, as described on the restaurant's website.
The original burglars then returned on Christmas night and happily joined the homeless men in their celebration -- which, unbeknown to them, was captured on CCTV.
After their Christmas Day feast, they eventually left -- taking with them a quantity of wines, spirits and food as well as paintings and electronic equipment.
They also made off with €8,000 after using kitchen utensils to scoop the cash out of the restaurant's drop-safe.
However, their celebrations allegedly cost the restaurant €11,000 in physical damage as well as damage to food that spoiled when they left the refrigerator doors open, according to documents filed to the court.
The burglary wasn't discovered until staff returned to work following the holiday.
The restaurant, trading as Home RBVR Ltd, then sued security company Safe and Secure, of Skreen Road, Dublin, for €27,400 in damages, alleging the alarm system that was fitted before the burglary in December 2005 failed to go off.
Barrister Ivan Daly told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Matthew Deery that the restaurant was suing the security company for negligence and breach of contract in its fitting of the alarm.
The court learned that investigations had shown that when the alarm was being installed by Safe and Secure, wire connectors at the back door had allegedly not been fitted.
The restaurant sued for negligence and breach of contract in fitting the alarm while the security company denied liability.
However, the case was settled out of court yesterday when an undisclosed settlement was reached between the restaurant's owner Brian Farrell and the security company.
Mr Daly said a settlement offer had been accepted by the restaurant owners.
Judge Deery struck out the case with agreement for an award of legal costs against Safe and Secure.
Meanwhile, it's understood that three of the culprits were prosecuted after they were identified by the CCTV footage. They pleaded guilty.
The fourth suspect died before the case came to court.