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Thief jailed after delay to spend time with dying dad

A DUBLIN man caught stealing tools and a laptop worth €2,500 from an ESB van has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Gareth Joyce (30) admitted the charges eight weeks ago, but sentencing was delayed so he could spend Christmas and New Year with his dying father.

The defendant, of Donomore Park in Tallaght, admitted damaging the door lock of a 2005-registered vehicle belonging to ESB Networks and to stealing a laptop and bag of tools.

The incident took place at Marlfield Place, Tallaght, on June 10. Joyce also admitted possession of a screwdriver for use in a theft.

Garda Sergeant Bernard Jones said gardai received a call shortly after 4.30am about two men who were trying to break into an ESB van.

When gardai arrived, they spotted Joyce running away. Sgt Jones said he dropped tools and a laptop as he ran.

Sgt Jones said Joyce was arrested in the Deerpark estate following a foot chase.

The court heard Joyce has 56 previous convictions. Defence solicitor Michael Hennessy said Joyce's father died in December from lung and brain cancer.

Joyce was introduced to heroin when he went into custody at 13, and has battled a drug problem ever since. In relation to this incident, the defendant was back on heroin at the time.