A judge has jailed a young woman for two months for causing criminal damage to a €1.50 tube of Pringles.
Judge Brian O'Shea sentenced Kathleen McDonagh (25) at Cork District Court after hearing she opened the crisp container in a Tesco outlet, from which she had been barred, when approached by security staff during Christmas 2016.
McDonagh, of Inchera, Mahon, Cork, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the €1.50 cylinder of potato snacks at the Tesco outlet in the Mahon Point shopping complex on December 27, 2016.
Judge O'Shea was told by Inspector Ronan Kenneally that the defendant was barred from the shop at the time.
However, she entered the supermarket, took the tube of crisps from a display shelf and proceeded to a self-checkout.
Security staff walked over to make her aware of the fact she was barred. As they approached, she opened the crisp container in front of them.
"[She said] 'I opened it so you will have to leave me to pay for it'," Insp Kenneally told the court.
Because the packet had been opened and could not be resealed, it could not be sold.
Judge O'Shea was told the defendant had more than 30 previous convictions, including theft, criminal damage and handling stolen property.
The judge heard the defendant had co-operated fully with gardai and flagged her guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity.
The young woman had recently got married and had a history of anxiety problems.
She is currently taking a beautician and hairdressing course and had secured employment while she trained.
Defence counsel urged the court to adopt as lenient a stance as possible, but Judge O'Shea said the offence had to be viewed in context against what he termed the defendant's "smart aleck" behaviour and her history of previous convictions.
The judge said her behaviour toward the shop's personnel was an aggravating factor.
He noted that a number of suspended sentences imposed in the district court had not apparently been successful for the defendant.
Judge O'Shea imposed a four-month prison sentence but agreed to suspend the final two months in light of her co-operation with gardai and her guilty plea. Recognisances were set in case of an appeal.