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Taxi thief (21) was on three-day binge

A YOUNG man who stole a taxi while the driver had stepped out to pick up a fare was on a three-day drink and drugs binge, a court heard.

Liam Mallen (21) jumped into the cab and drove off while the driver was knocking on a customer's door in a west Dublin housing estate.

He picked up a friend and was caught filling the tank with petrol at a garage.

Mallen, right, was given a three-month suspended sentence after he paid €1,000 in compensation to the taxi driver. His friend, Louis Parsons (20), was accused of being a passenger in a stolen car and had his case adjourned for a probation report.

Mallen, of Alpine Heights, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle at Melrose Lawns, Clondalkin on February 29.

A charge of producing a knife was withdrawn by the prosecution.

Parsons, of Melrose Lawns, admitted being a passenger in a stolen car at Esso garage, Naas Road.

The prosecuting garda said he was on patrol at 5.20am when he saw a red Toyota in the garage and the defendants were standing beside it.

The court heard had been so intoxicated on arrest that a doctor had to be called to the garda station and declared him unfit for interview for six hours.