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Teen smashed GAA club windows in 'stupid' act

A TEENAGER broke into his local GAA club and caused "gratuitous damage" by smashing the windows with balls that were being stored there, a court heard.

Patrick Lawrence (19) admitted a burglary charge in the incident in north Dublin in which he caused €700 worth of damage.

Judge John O'Neill gave him four months to pay compensation and warned he could be jailed if he fails to do so.

Lawrence, of Dun Saithne in Balbriggan pleaded guilty to burglary at O'Dwyer's GAA Club in the town on July 6, 2013.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at 2pm on July 6, 2013. The defendant and another man forced open the door of a permanent portacabin. While inside, they smashed all the windows using balls that were stored there.

Nothing was taken but the damage cost €700 to repair.

Lawrence was co-operative with gardai when arrested and he made full admissions, his lawyer said.

The defendant, a married man, had been "hanging out with a bad crowd" and drinking quite heavily at the time.

They had a bad influence on him, but he had now turned his life around and moved to Co Longford, his lawyer continued.

"It was a stupid thing to do and he holds his hands up in relation to it," he added.

Lawrence intended to pay compensation but did not have the money in court. He could "get it by Christmas".

Judge O'Neill remarked the incident had happened more than a year ago and the defendant "came into court without having paid a cent" for the damage.

"I am worried about that fact he caused gratuitous damage. These clubs are run on a voluntary basis for young people and your client smashes the place up."

The judge adjourned the case to a date in December and said he was "minded to impose a custodial sentence if the compensation is not paid" by that date.