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Raid witness stole cash that gang dropped

AN eye-witness to an armed cash-in-transit robbery helped himself to some of the money when the raiders dropped a box of it as they made their escape.

Bystander John Paul Forrester (30) spotted the cash box fall to the ground and quickly grabbed it and brought it into his own house near the scene. The cash had been left behind by the robbers, who had held the secure van up at gunpoint.

He admitted theft of €90 in coins which were in the box and had his case adjourned to a date in May for sentencing.

Forrester, of Temple Cottages, Broadstone, pleaded guilty to stealing the cash at King's Inn Street on August 20, 2008.

He admitted separate charges of obstructing a drugs search, failing to appear in court and possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Dublin District Court heard Forrester was in the vicinity of the cash-in-transit van that was held at gunpoint at 1.30pm.

The raiders brought the van to Broadstone, where they transferred the cash boxes into their own vehicle.

During this transfer, one of the boxes, full of coins, was dropped on the ground.

"The defendant, who hadn't been involved, picked it up and brought it into his own house," a garda sergeant said.

The property was never recovered.

In another incident, on Marlborough Street on March 30 this year, gardai saw the accused acting suspiciously and when they approached him, he put what were believed to be drug deals in his mouth and swallowed them.

On October 28, 2008, Forrester was arrested and brought to Store Street Garda Station, where he was found to be in possession of €700 worth of diamorphine.

Forrester had 28 previous convictions and his last -- for uninsured driving -- brought him a 90-day sentence that was suspended for a year.

He also had convictions for aggravated burglary, robbery and larceny.

Judge Cormac Dunne formally convicted Forrester for each offence.