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'Desperate' dad dug up and stole steel posts from council

A FATHER-of-two who used a power cutter to dig up steel posts from a council site was desperate for money, a court heard.

Thomas Callaghan (44) dug the 5ft posts out of the ground using a consaw and put them in the back of his pick-up -- in broad daylight.

He said he had known the site for over 30 years, thought it was a derelict site and that he was doing no harm in taking the posts.

Judge John O'Neill fined Callaghan, of Phoenix Street in Ballyfermot, €200. He admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing 17 steel posts worth over €600.

The theft took place at Cedarbrook Avenue, Ballyfermot, shortly before 1pm on December 13 last year.

Garda Beth Hewson said Callaghan dug up 17 steel posts, worth over €600, from the Dublin City Council-owned site in Ballyfermot.

The court heard that he has 10 previous convictions, all dating back over two decades.

Defence solicitor Terence Hanahoe said Callaghan is an unemployed construction worker who dug up the steel posts because he was desperate for money.

Mr Hanahoe said the site, though owned by Dublin City Council and fenced off, appears to be wasteland, and Callaghan did not believe he was causing any harm.