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Louth carpenter accused of stealing fence for firewood believed he ‘had authority’ to remove it

The Drogheda resident denied stealing the timber, valued at €2,000, from a site near his home


The accused claimed he had permission to remove the fencing from the Ballymakenny Road.

The accused claimed he had permission to remove the fencing from the Ballymakenny Road.

The accused claimed he had permission to remove the fencing from the Ballymakenny Road.


A 40-year-old carpenter has appeared in court accused of stealing wooden fencing from a site close to his home.

Mariusz Wolanin, Brookville Park, Ballymakenny Road, Drogheda, denied stealing the timber valued at €2,000 at Ellwood, Ballymakenny Road, on 5 March 2021.

He claimed he had been given permission to remove the property for firewood.

Owner of the land Kevin Sands testified at the district court that as he was driving by around noon, he saw the defendant taking down a fence.

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This man told him that he was working having been directed by a man called ‘Kevin’ to take down the fence.

Mr Sands replied his name was Kevin.

Wolanin then got into his car and drove away, not in a hurried manner. The witness said he followed and made a call to gardaí.

When they arrived at the accused’s house, Mr Sands said he stayed in his car. The other man had a pile of posts at his house. He would have had to cut them down.

The witness told solicitor Barry Callan that at the time his preference was to deal with the matter civilly. He wanted the other man to repair the fence. He agreed to this and produced drawings, but it never happened.

Mariusz Wolanin gave evidence that this was close to where he lived. He walked his dogs in the field every weekend.

He met a man there who said he wanted to clear the fencing and that he (Wolanin) could take what was broken for firewood.

The next day he started the work at 9am and was there for three hours. He was wearing hi-vis clothing. Anybody could see him.

‘I understood I had authority. That was the only reason I removed the fence,’ Wolanin stated.

‘I honestly believed I had permission to take down the fence.’

Under cross-examination, the witness said he had been speaking to ‘Kevin’ in a red van. He had not seen him since.

Mr Callan submitted there was no doubt the material was taken. It was not a clandestine operation. His client was in full view wearing hi-vis clothing.

The solicitor said the court could infer the defendant assumed he had consent. He sought a dismissal.

‘What was he doing there to start out, walking his dogs on someone else’s site?’ Judge McKiernan asked.

The judge continued she found it bizarre that he was on the site and chopped up someone’s timber. It made no sense to her.

The court was told of previous convictions for road traffic matters.

Mr Callan said the defendant was a carpenter, earning €600 per week.

Inspector John Callanan indicated that Mr Sands did not wish to be compensated personally and suggested a donation be made to Tredagh Lodge Alzheimer Day Care Centre.

Judge McKiernan said if €750 was donated by 3 October the court would find the facts proven and dismiss the charge.