Man used hired digger to steal part of railway tracks
A man hired a digger, lowloader and a tractor before stripping the disused Claremorris to Collooney railway line in the west of Ireland of 117 metres of iron track, a court heard.
Christopher Burke (49), with an address at Sarsfield Crescent, Charlestown, Co Mayo, had earlier pleaded guilty to the theft of 18 steel railway lines, valued at €8,957 at Carrowreagh, Kiltimagh, in September 2012.
He also pleaded guilty to causing €30,000 of damage to the rail line and a fence.
Sergeant Tom McIntyre told Judge Rory MacCabe at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar that gardai were alerted by a member of the public about activity on the railway. In total 117 metres of track had been removed, the witness said.
Christopher Burke, who was on the scene when Sergeant McIntyre arrived to investigate, admitted his involvement.
A second man on the scene proclaimed his innocence of any criminal activity. He was subsequently charged with theft and criminal damage but was acquitted on both charges by a jury last week.
Judge MacCabe imposed a three-year prison sentence – suspended provided that Burke pay €5,000 compensation to the rail company within six months.