A BURGLAR was on bail for possession of a sawn-off shotgun when he broke into the home of Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
Darragh Heavey (26) was arrested shortly after the break-in when gardai stopped him and matched his shoes with muddy footprints found inside Mr Shatter's home.
Heavey, of Moeran Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Delbrook Manor, Ballinteer, on March 18, 2012.
Detective Sergeant Eugene Stapleton told the court that Heavey was caught in possession of a sawn-off shotgun and cartridges under suspicious circumstances on March 16, 2011.
He was charged two days later and granted bail. He was still on bail when he carried out the burglary on Mr Shatter's house while he was out of the country on Government business.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned sentencing for the burglary until tomorrow.
Sgt Stapleton told the court that Garda Olivia Hawkes was on patrol when she heard an alarm and was informed that an alert had been received from a house on Delbrook Manor.
Gardai found mucky footprints with a distinctive pattern. Shortly afterwards gardai stopped Heavey and asked to see the soles of his shoes. The soles had the same pattern and Heavey was arrested.
During a search of the area around Shatter's home, gardai found two watches, a bag of US coins, gardening gloves, a mini-crowbar and two screwdrivers.
After using his right to silence during four garda interviews, Heavey admitted carrying out the burglary, saying: "It was unprofessional, mediocre and downright stupid.
"It was a reckless action through impaired judgment on my part."
Heavey has 20 previous convictions including trespass, burglary, car theft, assault and handling stolen goods.
On July 7, 2012, he was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four years with 18 months suspended for the firearms offences committed in March 2011.