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Mum paid for groceries at Dunnes with dud cheques

A mum-of-three who presented two cheques which bounced went on a spending spree after she was awarded a large sum of money from a State board, a court heard.

Gillian O'Donnell (33) admitted that she continued writing cheques to a supermarket, even though she knew there was no money in her account to cover them.

A court heard that O'Donnell received a large sum of money in October 2007 and all the money was gone by February 2008.

A judge ordered a probation report to see if O'Donnell was suitable for community service.

The defendant, with an address at Bremore Castle, Balbriggan, admitted before Tallaght District Court to two counts of dishonestly inducing staff members in Dunnes Stores to hand over money. The incidents took place at Dunnes Stores, Kilnamanagh, on April 20, and again on April 23, 2008.

Detective Garda John Stack said O'Donnell went into Dunnes and bought groceries worth €112.

She wrote out a cheque for €240 from her personal account, and received €128 cash back from the supermarket.

Three days later, she went back into the supermarket and bought groceries for €180. This time she wrote a cheque for €390 and received €210 back.

Defence lawyer James Egan said O'Donnell genuinely thought there was money in her account when she wrote the first cheque, but knew her account was empty on the second occasion.

The court heard that O'Donnell has four previous convictions, including a previous conviction for forgery.

Mr Egan said O'Donnell wrote the first cheque "in good faith", but knew what she was doing the second time.

He said she wanted to repay the money to the supermarket.

Judge James McDonnell ordered that O'Donnell complete 200 hours community service in lieu of three months in prison.