A SECURITY company is being sued over a €122,000 cigarette heist from a Dublin rail depot 17 years ago, in which it is claimed a security camera was trained on a "courting couple" and not on the depot.
Thieves burnt a hole through an empty steel container into an adjoining container holding the cigarettes which arrived by train at the then Irish Rail Depot on Friday, November 7 1997.
There were two security men and 16 cameras monitoring the premises at North Wall Quay, the High Court heard.
Cigarette manufacturers PJ Carroll and its distribution company, Carroll Group Distributors, are suing Jaebrade Security Services, the company employed by Irish Rail to protect two container-loads of cigarettes.
Around one quarter of the total consignment, worth around IR£96,000, was taken.
Carroll's say Jaebrade was negligent by employing unsuitable security people, one of whom had a previous criminal conviction for a sexual crime.
The claims are denied and Jaebrade says it warned in advance that three instead of two staff were needed to provide security at that site.
It is claimed the actions of both security men on the night of the theft showed a high degree of negligence including a failure to properly use 16 cameras filming the depot.
One camera was trained on the Sherriff Street side of the site although it had earlier been focused southwards which was where the thieves broke into the depot, it is claimed.
And it is claimed another camera, which was supposed to be aimed at the depot, was used for a period of time, around 12.30am on Sunday morning, to observe a courting couple.
The CCTV recordings of the night would show instances of white flashes which allegedly came from an acetylene-welding torch used to cut through the containers, the court heard. Two individuals were also recorded in the vicinity of the containers earlier that night, it is claimed.
There were also no mobile car patrols carried out on the site for a period between 2.30am and 6.30am that morning, it is alleged.
Opening Carroll's case, Mr Ó hOisín said during an interview with the security man who had the criminal conviction, that he admitted pressure had been put on him to turn a blind eye to the theft.
The bulk of the value of the stolen cigarettes, some IR£74,000, was in tax duty but Carrolls still had to pay it to Revenue, counsel said.
The case continues before Ms Justice Marie Baker.