Wednesday 23 October 2019

Thought fridges were scrap claim

Two men stole cooling fridges belonging to a Sligo company claimed they thought they were being thrown out.

Charlie Ward (25) of 37, Fana Glas, Ballybane, Co Galway, Shane McDonagh (21) of 16, Slievemore VIew, Ballytivnan, appeared before Sligo Circuit Court where they pleaded to the theft of chiller cases and multi deck cabinets.

The property belonged to refrigeration and air conditioning suppliers Apex Controls. On July 3rd, 2018 gardaí received a call reporting two males acting suspiciously at Cleveragh Business Centre.

The men were seen placing metal into a Toyota Hiace van. They were arrested and conveyed to Ballymote Garda Station.

Defending solicitor for the two men, Gerard McGovern, said the two married men came across the premises and thought the items had been thrown out but never asked anybody for confirmation.

They loaded them into the vehicle assuming it was scrap metal.

Replying to a query from Judge Kevin Kilrane in relation to the area accessed by the men, Mr McGovern explained that it was a premises that was not guarded by security gates and could be driven into.

The chilling units were recovered, however, Sergeant Derek Butler informed the court that they were damaged as shelves and copper coiling were removed.

Asked what the men could offer in terms of compensation, Mr McGovern said they could only put forward €400 each.

Addressing the court, Ward, who was deemed 'the moving party' by the Judge, said he deeply regretted his actions but added that he could not understand the estimation of the damage.

"There's no way they were ever going to be used again. They were rusty, they weren't just left out over night," said Ward. Ward has 12 previous convictions, among them being theft. McDonagh had no previous convictions and was fined €400. Judge Kilrane described Ward as 'the real author of this venture' and said he had to serve a prison sentence.

Ward was sentenced to three months in prison, and, as he used a vehicle in order to commit the crime he also received a one year driving disqualification.

Sligo Champion