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Cleaner stole champagne for wife

A CLEANER who stole a bottle of champagne was planning to give it to his wife to thank her for all the extra hours she was working, after his business was badly hit by the recession.

Andrew Coleman (46) said he walked out with the champagne in a moment of madness as he wanted to show his appreciation to his wife, who works as a carer, for all the extra hours she had been working.

The defendant, who runs his own contract cleaning company, said the couple have been struggling to pay their mortgage and household bills for the past 10 months, after his business was badly hit by the recession.

A judge dismissed the charge under the probation act after Coleman handed over €200 for the charity Alone.

Coleman, with an address at Broadlough View, Greenhill Road, Wicklow town, admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to stealing a bottle of champagne, worth €41.

The theft took place at Superquinn, Ballinteer on April 30 last.

The court heard that Coleman was in Dublin handing out flyers, and trying to drum up some business, when he went into Superquinn to buy some food for his two sons.

He saw the champagne and thought he'd get it as a present for his wife.

Coleman paid for the food but walked out without paying for the champagne. He was stopped by security staff outside the store.

His lawyer said Coleman was very embarrassed about his behaviour, but that he and his wife had been struggling financially for the last year, and were finding it difficult to pay their mortgage.

One of their cars had also been repossessed.

Judge Reilly sympathised with the man's plight and dismissed the charge after €200 was donated to Alone.