Tuesday 19 February 2019

Gambling addict stole cosmetics to pay off his debts

Martin Sweeney has been attending Gamblers Anonymous. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Martin Sweeney has been attending Gamblers Anonymous. Photo: Justin Farrelly

A gambler turned to shoplifting in an attempt to pay off his mounting debts.

Martin Sweeney (22) planned to sell the cosmetics he stole, but he was caught red-handed by security staff as he left a south Dublin pharmacy.

He admitted he was still gambling, but said he had reduced it from every day to only once a week.

Judge Anne Watkin ordered him to enter into a probation bond for one year with a condition that he does not gamble.

The defendant, of The Laur-els, Bluebell Avenue, Bluebell, had admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to stealing cosmetics worth €267 from McCabe's Pharmacy, in Dundrum Shopping Centre, last February.

Sgt Peadar McCann said Sweeney took a number of items, including razor blades and creams, but was prevented from fleeing by security staff.


The court heard the defendant had 14 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters.

Defence lawyer Kim Moloney said Sweeney, who was married, had been battling an addiction to gambling.

He stole the cosmetics and had planned to sell them to help pay off his gambling debts, Ms Moloney said.

The court heard that the defendant had engaged with the Probation Service and had been attending Gamblers An- onymous.

Ms Moloney accepted that Sweeney was still gambling, but said that this had now been reduced from every day to once a week.

Sweeney claimed that if given time, he would be able to stop completely.

Ms Moloney also said that Sweeney had not been in troub-le for nearly a year.

The court heard that Sweeney did not have a drink problem.

However, Judge Watkin advised him to stay away from alcohol, and added: "If you drink, you're going to gamble."

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