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Teenager who handled stolen tools had debts

A TEENAGER caught handling stolen tools was under huge financial pressure at the time, a court has heard.

Michael Maughan (18) claimed his older accomplice encouraged him to commit the crime.

The tools were taken from a van in a shopping centre car park.

Judge David McHugh ordered Maughan to complete 100 hours community service in lieu of three months in prison.

The defendant, of Sillogue Green in Ballymun, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to handling stolen property at White Road in Blanchardstown on August 4 last.

Garda Sergeant Maria Callaghan said gardai were on mobile patrol when they received reports of two men in a black car acting suspiciously near Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.

Sgt Callaghan said the defendants were observed taking tools, valued at €600, from a van.

The sergeant said Maughan was stopped by gardai and he admitted handling the tools, which were later returned to the owner.

The court heard that the defendant has 19 previous convictions, all dating back to when he was a juvenile.

Defence lawyer Jennifer Jackson said the defendant previously worked with his father buying and selling cars, but he is currently unemployed and looking for work.

Ms Jackson said Maughan was stressed at the time of this incident, after his wife lost a baby.

She said Maughan was under huge financial pressure, and had a large number of loans and debts.

Ms Jackson also said that Maughan's accomplice was an older man, and claimed that he encouraged him to get involved in the matter.

Ordering Maughan to complete community service, Judge McHugh warned that the defendant faces going to jail if he comes before him again.