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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Farmer tracks down cycling Dutch thief using local social networks after his coat is stolen in pub

Interpol was contacted after the thief was apprehended

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FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Two Dutch tourists, who were cycling through Cork, got more than they bargained for when one of them stole a farmer's coat in a pub.

Jolle Sietsma, a 44-year-old with an address at Filurskiweq, Bergen, in the Netherlands, pleaded guilty at Bandon District Court to stealing a coat from a West Cork farmer in a Clonakilty bar, the Examiner reports.

However, it's the tale behind the seemingly innocuous incident that makes it an intriguing tale. 

Noel Baker in the Examiner found out that while the court heard that after taking the coat from O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty, CCTV footage was downloaded by staff showing the incident and Mr Sietsma.

The Dutchman had been cycling around West Cork with a friend and had got soaked wet and spotted an opportunity to get himself a new, dry coat in the bar.

However, the local farmer, who had been in the pub with his invalid wife, was determined to find the culprits.

He told the Irish Examiner that, between a social media post seeking assistance, help from others in Clonakilty, and texts and phonecalls across the West Cork, he managed to track down the cycling Dutchman and his friend in Bantry.

Dena O’Donovan of O’Donovan’s Hotel said she downloaded the CCTV footage on Tuesday night when the coat went missing, and posted the footage on her Facebook page.

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Locals went into overdrive to help and various sightings of the duo were reported, and the picture of where the two were travelling soon emerged.

After milking his cows the next morning, the farmer hit the road in pursuit of the Dutch cyclists and his coat.

“I knew they were on bikes,” he said. “I was of the opinion I could run after a push bike but not a motorbike,” he told the Irish Examiner.

When he arrived in Bantry, he spotted two bikes outside a pub and proceeded inside.

“It’s amazing how things unfolded. I told the guards in Bantry it was not the value of the coat, it was that he took it from my wife’s invalid chair," he said.

Mr Sietsma’s solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, told Judge Mary Dorgan that his client wanted to plead guilty.

He said Sietsma’s clothes were drenched on Tuesday and he and his friend had sat in the pub and “he drank and drank and drank, and in the height of drink he took a coat. He went on his way in drunken stupidity.”

Insp Brian Murphy, prosecuting, said having been arrested in Bantry for handling stolen goods, Mr Sietsma had then admitted stealing the coat.

The court was told Mr Sietsma had €250 and was prepared to make a contribution to the court poor box, with Mr Sietsma referring to it as “learning money”.

Judge Dorgan was less amused, saying: “I think it was a mean thing to do.”

Mr Taaffe said his client was “embarrassed and annoyed with himself”. Insp Murphy said gardaí had checked Mr Sietsma’s background via Interpol, which confirmed he had no previous convictions.

Judge Dorgan said “drink is no excuse and the weather is no excuse” and as well as directing the €250 contribution to the poor box she also bound Mr Sietsma to the peace for six months.


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