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Suspect in court over €980 theft from puppet king

A MAN has appeared in court, accused of stealing almost €1,000 from legendary puppeteer and former Wanderly Wagon star Eugene Lambert.

Eddie Stokes (23), with an address at Clarinda Park East, Dun Laoghaire, is charged with stealing cash from two ATMs with stolen bank cards, the property of Eugene and May Lambert, of Lambert Puppet Theatre in Monkstown.

Stokes, who is charged with handling the stolen bank cards and stealing €980 from two ATMs in Dun Laoghaire on January 27, was remanded on bail by Judge Ann Ryan at Dun Laoghaire District Court on condition he attends the local garda station daily and observes a curfew from 9pm to 8am.

Arresting

Det Garda Richard Reddin of Dun Laoghaire garda station, who gave evidence of arresting Stokes at 10.39am yesterday, said he had nothing to say in answer to the charges.

He was remanded on personal bail of €200.

Eugene Lambert (81) first came to prominence as the star of 70s children's programme Wanderly Wagon and was behind the much-loved puppet Judge.

The Lambert Puppet Theatre in Monkstown is Ireland's foremost puppet theatre and was established in 1972 by Eugene, his wife May, and their family.

It is home to the country's largest collection of puppets and hosts family productions throughout the weekend.

The theatre can hold up to 250 people and the venue also houses a museum.

Each year, it attracts hundreds of children and is a central part of the International Puppet Theatre Festival.

Last year, Mr Lambert recalled performing for the late Michael Jackson who died last year.

He first performed for the late King of Pop in 1992.

Jackson was so impressed that he returned about 18 months ago when he was last in Ireland.

This time he brought along his children Prince, Paris and Blanket.

Mr Lambert said: "I got a call one day to ask if he could come out to visit our theatre.

"He arrived in a stretch limousine with several minders in tow.

"He was fascinated with the theatre and then I brought him into the house.

Cherishes

"He was very relaxed and said he loved our place.

"Then he came back a few years ago with his children with him.

"They were incredibly well-behaved and would ask your permission to touch anything. But he himself was still incredibly shy."

The puppeteer told how he cherishes the visitors' book that Michael signed at his home.

He added: "I was very saddened to hear of his death, especially as he was only 50.

"I'm 80 now myself. He really went very young."

hnews@herald.ie


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