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Mum stole in 'panic' over rent hike

A MOTHER-of-three went out shoplifting with a store security de-tagger because she "panicked" when her rent was put up and she could not afford to pay it.

Winnie Joyce (30) had no prior convictions when she went to the same shop twice and stole €379 worth of football jerseys.

Judge David McHugh fined her €20 after hearing she was under "huge financial pressure" at the time of the offences.

Joyce, with an address at Castleview Close, Swords, pleaded guilty to stealing two soccer jerseys worth €117 and another five football jerseys worth €262 at Lifestyle Sports, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.

She also admitted having a store security de-tagging device for use in connection with or in the course of a theft.

The charges are under Sections 4 and 17 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Blanchardstown District Court heard the offences all happened on the same day - July 31 this year.

The court was told Joyce entered the shop at 4.45pm that afternoon and stole five jerseys. She returned to the same shop later and stole two more, while in possession of a de-tagger.

The stolen goods were returned undamaged to the store and Joyce had no previous convictions of any kind.

The accused was a single mother-of-three and the incident happened because her rent went up at the same time that her allowance was reduced, her barrister Jennifer Jackson explained.

Joyce was left with a shortfall, could not afford to pay the rent and "panicked". She was under "huge financial pressure" and went out and stole, Ms Jackson added.

Judge McHugh said he accepted that the accused was in financial difficulty because of her rent at the time, but said he was recording a criminal conviction against her.

He fined her €20, giving her six months to pay, with five days in prison in default.