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Polite burglar would always knock before he broke in

A BURGLAR who was caught after his fingerprints were found at a house told how he always picked properties which were empty, and would first knock on the front door to ensure no one was at home.

Mark Waldron (31) said he had battled a chronic heroin addiction for over half his life, and all his burglaries -- 18 in total -- were committed to feed his drug habit.

He apologised to the court, saying he never used any violence and he always tried to ensure no one was at home when he robbed the houses.

However, a judge said that Waldron more than deserved to go to jail, and he sentenced him to six months in prison.

The defendant, of Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to two counts of burglary.

The first incident took place at Woodview in Lucan on August 12 last year, while the second was at Liffey Avenue, also in Lucan, of September 9.

Garda Stewart Gleeson said the Garda Scenes of Crime Unit took fingerprints at both houses, and they were a match to Waldron's fingerprints. He was later questioned about the burglaries, and admitted carrying them out. The court heard he had 39 previous convictions.

A defence lawyer said Waldron was stabilised on metha-done, and was waiting for a place on a detox programme.

She said he was now welcome back in the family home.

The lawyer said Waldron committed all the burglaries in a desperate attempt to get money to feed his heroin addiction, and would make sure no one was at home by first knocking on the front door.

She said he was disturbed during the course of one of the burglaries, when the owner of the house returned home, and he fled the scene.

The court heard that Waldron, a former painter and decorator, had three children who lived with their mother, and he had almost daily contact with them.

Judge David McHugh said Waldron "more than deserves" to go to jail as he has not learnt his lesson in any way. The judge sentenced him to six months in prison and fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.