Woman jailed after opening €1.50 tub of Pringles in Tesco store
A judge jailed a young woman for two months for causing criminal damage to a €1.50 tube of Pringle crisps in a Tesco supermarket.
Judge Brian O'Shea jailed Kathleen McDonagh (25) at Cork District Court after hearing she opened the crisp container in a Tesco outlet from which she had been barred when approached by security staff at Christmas 2016.
McDonagh of Inchera, Mahon, Cork pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the €1.50 packet of potato snacks at the Tesco outlet in the Mahon Point Shopping complex on December 27 2016.
Judge O'Shea was told by Inspector Ronan Kenneally that the defendant was barred from the Tesco outlet involved on the date in question.
However, she entered the supermarket, took the tube of Pringle crisps from a display shelf and proceeded to a self check-out area.
Security staff became aware of the defendant's presence in the store and walked over to her to make her aware of the fact she was barred.
As they approached, she opened the crisp container in front of them.
Inspector Kenneally said the defendant informed security personnel she had deliberately opened the packet.
"(She said) I opened it so you will have to leave me pay for it," he explained.
The court was told that, because the packet had been opened and could not be resealed, it could not be offered for re-sale.
Judge O'Shea was told the defendant had more than 30 previous convictions.
These included convictions for theft, criminal damage and handling stolen property.
The court was told the defendant had no permission to be in the Tesco outlet that day.
Judge O'Shea was told the defendant had co-operated fully with gardaí and flagged her guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity.
The young woman had recently gotten married and had a history of anxiety problems.
She is currently undergoing a beautician and hairdressing course and had secured employment while she trained.
Defence counsel urged the court to adopt as lenient a stance as possible to the young woman.
Judge O'Shea said the offence had to be viewed in context against what he termed the defendant's "Smart Alec" behaviour towards security staff, the fact she opened the Pringle tube after being asked to leave the supermarket and her history of previous convictions.
The judge said her behaviour towards the security personnel on the day was an aggravating factor in the matter.
He noted that a number of suspended sentences imposed in the district court had not apparently been successful for the defendant.
Judge O'Shea imposed a four month prison sentence but agreed to suspend the final two months in light of her co-operation with Gardaí and her guilty plea.
Recognisance was set in case of an appeal to the Circuit Court.