Thieves target North Kerry in crime spree

Sinead Kelleher

Oil drums, strimmers, a TV, a pitchfork, cigarettes,wheel alloys and tea and coffee were stolen by two Tralee burglars on a rampage across North Kerry in a bid to repay gambling and drugs debts. 

The two burglars even broke into the one of their uncles homes in Athea during the burglary spree. 

Patrick Roche of 27 Woodview, Tralee and Martin O'Sullivan of 126 Market Street were before Tralee Circuit Criminal Court last week on a host of charges relating to the crime spree which saw the two burglars target businesses and homes in Athea, Glin, Abbeyfeale, Moyvane and Listowel.

The two men even targeted a local football and GAA club and they burgled Mr O'Sullivan's uncle's house  in  Athea. 

They were also charged with several counts of criminal damage arising out of the incidents which took place over a number of days on the June Bank Holiday weekend. 

In total Mr Roche faced eight charges while  Mr O'Sullivan was charged with 25 separate charges of burglary and criminal damage arising out of the string of incidents that took place over the entire weekend. 

Mr O'Sullivan was the driver  of the vehicle on the weekend in question while Mr Roche was the passenger. 

Both men made admissions when detected by gardaí who recovered some of the stolen items.  Mr O'Sullivan said that he had carried out the burglaries for financial reasons to pay back drug debts and he even admitted to crimes that had not been reported at that time. 

Mr Roche also made admissions and his reason for the burglaries was to repay gambling debts. He said that he was living in fear at the time. 

The court was told that the value of the goods stolen was not high and that the damage caused by the two men was higher than anything stolen during the incidents.  Among the businesses targeted was a butchers shop, a garage and a petrol station and they stole oil, a strimmers, a TV and tea and coffee from these premises as well as causing damage to many of the premises. 

Mr O'Sullivan has 33 previous convictions the court was told while Mr Roche has 21. 

Mr Roche was on xanax and vodka at the time of the incidents and has a poor recollection of what happened on that weekend. 

Mr O'Sullivan had a suspended sentence in place at the time of the crime spree relating to previous burglaries he had committed. 

The case has been adjourned to July for sentencing.