WHEN a pet lamb ran to its owner at Milltown Mart, in Co Kerry, he caught sight of the rest of flock of sheep that had been stolen from just a day after they went missing from a field in Clonkeen.
The lambs' owner, Pat Scannell, had gone to the mart to see if an attempt was being made to sell them. The animals were then brought back to Clonkeen, where each lamb went immediately to its mother.
Before Kenmare District Court last Friday was Michael Folan, aged 32, of Kippagh, Ballyvourney, who pleaded guilty to the theft of 17 sheep, valued at €1,600, the property of Pat Scannell, at Gortalee, Clonkeen, on May 22 last year.
His solicitor, Eoin Brosnan, said his client had "put the theft down to greed" as he "needed the money".
Judge James O'Connor described Folan's actions as "really nasty" and he sentenced him to 28 days in prison.
The court heard that Folan received a conviction and a three-month sentence in Macroom District Court in April for a similar offence - a penalty that is currently under appeal.
Folan was convicted after he was found guilty of stealing 20 sheep worth €2,500. His solicitor said compensation had been paid to the injured party in that case.
Folan, who has a ten month-old child and another baby due in September, told Judge James O'Connor that he would appeal any sentence that he handed down as he had to care for his mother who was in the final stages of MS.
Judge O'Connor convicted Folan and sentenced him to 28 days in jail. However, he adjourned imposing the prison term for one month.
"If she is still alive in June, I will adjourn it until July," the judge said.