A FRAUDSTER who posed as a debt collector, to try to get a cash-strapped householder to hand over more than €700, has been jailed for six months.
Crystal meth addict Patrick Ryan (32) snatched a letter demanding the cash that had been written by a real debt collector from the victim's letterbox before returning and claiming to be from the same agency.
He tried to use the letter to get her to hand over the money but she realised he was not genuine and slammed the door.
Dublin District Court heard gardai later found the letter in Ryan's possession when they stopped him on a street near his home. Ryan had committed a series of crimes sparked when money awarded to him in a claim made him relapse into drug-taking.
The accused, of Shanowen Drive, Santry, pleaded guilty to a fraud charge in the incident at Smithfield Gate, North King Street on February 26.
Garda Keith Halley said he stopped the defendant at Shanowen Road, Santry at 10.50pm. He was carrying a brown Penney's bag with the debt collector's letter, a purse that had been stolen from another woman and a prescription.
Garda Halley explained that the accused had gone to the woman's door with the letter and attempted to collect the sum of €776.98.
"No money was handed over and the woman closed the door in the defendant's face when he attempted to collect it," Garda Halley said.
Garda Sean Walsh said the accused also carried out a house burglary at the Swords Road, Santry on January 29.
Ryan had 103 previous convictions.
The defendant was "strung out" on crystal meth at the time of the incident, his lawyer said.
There had been long periods when he had not offended, but he was awarded a sum of compensation and "that money was the instigator of what ended up being a period of offending".
Ryan had spent the claim money in a "very short" space of time, his lawyer said. He was now serving a sentence in the Midlands prison and had an appointment for a residential treatment centre.
Judge Denis McLoughlin gave him three concurrent six-month sentences, back dating them to when Ryan went into custody.