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Heroin addict stole toys to pay for habit

A YOUNG woman stole Lego and other toys from city-centre stores to sell them for drugs money.

Judge Patricia McNamara told Dublin District Court she wanted the woman to be assessed for suitability for a restorative justice programme.

April O'Brien (21), with addresses at Clancy Barracks, Blessignton Street and Drumcarra Avenue, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and one of handling stolen property.

She also stole Transformer toys and bubble bath sets from stores in a series of thefts.

She had the case against her adjourned after pleading guilty.

Dublin District Court heard on December 29, 2011 she was stopped at Westmoreland Street and was found in possession of eight Transformers toys that had been stolen from an unknown shop. The store was eventually located and the property returned.

On the same date, she went to Reids, Nassau Street and stole two Lego sets worth €44.99. These were also recovered in a resaleable condition.

Also that day, she took four bubble bath sets worth €67 from Lush, Grafton Street and six necklaces from Claire's Accessories, Westmoreland Street.

Service

She stole another large toy from a shop in the Ilac Centre on November 27, 2011.

O'Brien had 11 previous convictions, most of which were for theft.

She had been given a community service order of 200 hours instead of an eight-month jail sentences for those charges.

All the offences had happened around the same time, her barrister said.

O'Brien had gone through a period of very heavy drug abuse and this was how she began shoplifting.

"This was solely to feed her drug abuse," counsel said. "She went through a bad period."

She had taken "significant steps" to address this and was on a low methadone dosage.

She had been off heroin for the past 15 months and one of the prosecuting gardai confirmed that she had not offended in that time.

O'Brien now hoped to return to education and complete her Junior and Leaving Certificates but was pregnant and would do so after the birth.

"She has made great strides and her risk factor [of re-offending] has plummeted," O'Brien's barrister said.

aphelan@herald.ie


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