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Thief caught fleeing raid by skylight

THIS is the burglar who was caught red-handed by gardai up in the rafters of a private house trying to escape through a skylight.

Eddie Stokes (24) was creeping around the house in Dun Laoghaire armed with a flashlight at 4am in the morning, when neighbours raised the alarm.

A court heard that father-of-one Stokes has battled a heroin problem for a number of years, but was now stabilised on methadone and was trying to focus on reducing his daily dosage.

Stokes, of Bentley House, George's Place, Dun Laoghaire, admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to two counts of burglary.

The incidents took place at Martello Restaurant, Sandycove, on November 10, 2009, and at Rosemeen Gardens, Dun Laoghaire, only five days later.

In relation to the burglary at the restaurant, Garda Sergeant Peadar McCann said Stokes entered the property to the rear, by kicking a metal protection off a back window.

Sgt McCann said Stokes took €160 in notes and coins from the till. The restaurant was empty at the time. The money was not recovered.

In relation to the second burglary, Garda Michael Quill said gardai closed off the area after an individual with a flashlight was seen around Rosemeen Gardens.

Garda Quill said the front door of the house had been forced open and he could hear noises at the rear.

The garda said Stokes was found up in the rafters of the ceiling trying to escape through a skylight.

The court heard that Stokes had 30 previous convictions, and was recently handed a three-year sentence.

He is not due for release until September 2012.

Defence solicitor Ronnie Lynam said Stokes had been in a lot of trouble in recent times, but was now in prison, and focused on getting clean. His crimes were committed to fund his heroin addiction.

Mr Lynam said Stokes had reduced his methadone intake, and hoped to get into a training unit in Mountjoy to help him continue his recovery.

Judge Clare Leonard sentenced Stokes to 14 days in jail.