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Thief jailed after taking loose change from taxi

A PASSENGER who grabbed loose change from the front of a taxi and then ran and hid in a bookies has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Barry Norton (26) claimed his was a "crime of opportunity" and he was heavily addicted to heroin at the time.

He said he panicked when gardai arrived so quickly on the scene in Drimnagh and he hid out in the bookies.

He was later identified by the taxi driver and the money was recovered.

A judge sentenced Norton to three months in prison, saying that running into the bookies was a "fairly stupid thing to do".

The defendant, of Shancastle Avenue in Clondalkin, admitted before Dublin District Court to stealing the money. The incident took place on Drimnagh Road, Dublin 12 on February 21.

A garda witness said he received a complaint from a taxi driver that a passenger had robbed €20 from his vehicle.

The court heard that Norton was sitting in the back of the taxi, leaned forward, took the money from the front of the vehicle and ran away.

The defendant ran into a nearby bookies when he realised that gardai were on the way, and he was later identified in the bookies by the taxi driver.

The court heard that when he was arrested Norton, who has over 90 previous convictions, panicked and he gave gardai his brother's name and address.

Defence solicitor Sarah Molloy said the defendant has battled a heroin addiction for more than a decade, since he was 16 years old. Ms Molloy said all his crimes related to his addiction, and to him trying to get money to fund it.



Difficult

The solicitor also said the incident was a crime of opportunity, the taxi driver wasn't in the car at the time and no violence was shown towards him.

Ms Molloy said Norton has tried to give up drugs a number of times but has found it very difficult. He is currently stabilised on 40mls of methadone, and focused on reducing his daily dosage.

Judge John O'Neill sentenced Norton to three months in prison.

hnews@herald.ie