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Thief sold jeep worth thousands for €140

A DRUG addict stole a jeep that cost its owner thousands of euro to renovate and sold it on for just €140 scrap, a court heard.

Mark Kearney (32) was at the "height of his addiction" when he got involved in the removal of the newly restored Toyota jeep from outside a north Dublin apartment block.

Kearney, of Newtown Cross, The Ward, pleaded guilty to stealing the jeep at Ballyboughal Road, Finglas on August 20, 2010. He was given a one-month suspended sentence.

Kearney avoided jail after he paid €5,000 in compensation for the vehicle.

Detective Garda Niall Hodgins told Dublin District Court the utility vehicle was stolen from outside an apartment block on the day in question and driven to the Ardmore Hotel in Finglas.

Here, an attempt was made to conceal its origin by removing its number plates. It was driven up on to the back of a removal truck and taken away. Kearney was later identified as having been involved and was arrested. He admitted having it scrapped.

The court heard the owner had paid €2,700 for the vehicle as part of a "restoration project".





Addiction

He had invested another €2,200 in it and spent another €300 on new tyres. The total cost was €5,220.

Kearney had eight previous convictions for offences including theft and possession of drugs

He had been taking drugs since the age of 15, was at the height of his addiction at the time of the offence and had only recently "taken hold of the situation", his lawyer said.

He was currently awaiting a bed in a residential treatment programme.

After the compensation was produced to the court, Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin said: "That has just kept him out of jail."

She suspended the sentence for a year.

aphelan@herald.ie