| 10.8°C Dublin

Thief was caught as he stopped to feed fish

A man who stole a laptop from a business -- and stopped to feed the fish on the way out -- has been jailed.

Stephen Byrne (37) walked into a refrigeration company's office and stole a director's laptop worth €2,100.

It was described by the prosecuting garda as an "unintelligent crime" as Byrne "stopped to feed the fish in the office on the way out and smiled at the CCTV camera".

Byrne, of Kilmartin Avenue, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the theft of the Toshiba laptop at Cross Refrigeration Ltd at Cookstown Industrial Estate on August 17, 2010.

"There was no method to the theft as he did not conceal what he did," the garda said.

Sarah Jane O'Callaghan, defending, said Byrne, who had 63 previous convictions, had been addicted to drugs since the age of 12, suffered from schizophrenia and needed residential treatment.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that the theft was one of many burglaries Byrne had committed and sentenced him to three years in prison with the final 21 months suspended.