| 8.6°C Dublin

Man stole laptops from HSE offices in middle of night – court hears

A MAN stole laptops with sensitive information from HSE offices in the middle of the night after walking in through an open door in the building, a court has heard.

Stephen Ennis (22) was caught "red handed" with three mobile phones, and five laptops after a security guard came across him and his accomplices.

Garda Susan Plunket told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that the laptops contained confidential information including personal details and emails concerning children in care, HSE employees and clients.

Gda Plunket said this was "sensitive information" but that the burglars were only interested in the value of the equipment.

The burglars fled from the building but were arrested by gardai close to the scene while in possession of the stolen property.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client planned to sell on the laptops and expected to get a total of €400 all five.

Ennis of Cashel Road, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty to burglary at the Health Service Executive building, Parkgate Street Plaza, Dublin on November 27, 2011.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the father-of-two was living in a nearby homeless hostel run by the Peter McVerry trust. He saw a door to the HSE building swinging open and also walked through an open security gate.

Mr Spencer described the crime as "opportunistic" and agreed Ennis, who has seven previous convictions, was caught red-handed.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to three years but suspended the last 15 months.