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Tesco meat thief relapsed on heroin following death of close friend, court hears






A SHOPPER who stole meat products from a supermarket was clean of heroin for a decade but relapsed following the death of a good friend, a court heard.

Karl Brown (38) had a drug debt and he was hoping to sell the meat products so he could repay the money.

He said he is now clean again and his father has warned him that he will only be allowed to remain in the family home as long as he stays drug-free.

Judge Anne Watkin imposed a three-month sentence, suspending all but one day of it for one year.

The defendant, of The Dale, Belgard Heights in Tallaght, admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to stealing meat products worth €99.

The theft took place at Tesco, Ballybrack on October 27, 2013.

Sergeant Peadar McCann said the items were all recovered in a saleable condition, and Brown co-operated with gardai. The court heard the defendant has eight previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Ronnie Lynam said Brown started smoking heroin nearly 15 years ago, but he received treatment and had been off drugs since 2004.

Mr Lynam said Brown relapsed in late 2013.

The defendant’s father told the court a good friend of his son’s died and he believes this was the trigger to him going back on drugs.

His dad also pointed out that Brown is now completely clean from drugs, and that this time he came to the family asking for help.

The court heard Brown knows he must stay clean to remain in the family home.

In relation to the theft, Brown told the court he stole the meat products after he foolishly “moved something for someone”, and he acquired a drug debt.

He said he thought he could sell the products himself and make some money back.

Imposing a suspended sentence, Judge Watkin said Brown had a relatively good record for a heroin addict.