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Manager sold €2,000 toys at back of shop

A SMYTHS Toystore manager started stealing toys and video games and selling them for cash at the back of the store.

James Deegan (23) worked as warehouse manager for Smyths Toystore for over three years, and was a good employee until he ran into financial difficulties and started stealing the toys.

Deegan stole over €2,000 worth of toys, Playstation and Nintendo games, iPods and mountain bikes over a seven- month period.

He lost his job after the deception was uncovered.

Deegan apologised for his behaviour, saying he was struggling to pay his weekly household bills after he was put on short-time hours and was also trying to pay off a high-interest loan.

A judge expressed shock when Deegan's solicitor Martin Coen said his client was paying interest on the loan at a rate of 118pc.

However, Judge David McHugh sentenced Deegan to four months in prison, saying he was in a position of authority and stealing from his employer was "reprehensible".

Deegan of Hamilton Hall in Dunboyne, Co Meath, admitted three counts of theft when he appeared at Blanchardstown District Court.

The thefts occurred on November 27 and on unknown dates between February and November 2009 at Smyths Toystore in Blanchardstown.

Detective Garda Alan Barry said gardai were called to Smyths on November 27, 2009, following reports of suspicious activity at the back of the premises. Garda Barry said Deegan was exchanging stock for cash with another man.

The court heard that Deegan was later interviewed by gardai, and admitted the thefts. He had sold stock for cash to a number of people between February and November 2009. The total value of the goods was €2,250, some of which was recovered in his home.

Martin Coen, defending, said Deegan returned from Australia four years ago with a large cash debt. Mr Coen said Deegan's hours were cut in the toy shop, he had credit card debt, a high-interest loan, and he was struggling to pay the household bills.

He said the behaviour was out of character for Deegan. Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.