AN ELDERLY couple received a shock when they returned home to find a pair of burglars had burst in their front door, a court heard.
Patrick Wall (31) and James Connors (30) were caught by gardai after neighbours saw them acting suspiciously at the elderly couple's house.
Judge Patrick Brady sentenced Connors to eight months in prison, after he heard he has a number of previous convictions for burglary.
Wall, who had €300 compensation in court for the victims, was ordered to complete 150 hours community service in lieu of seven months in prison.
Wall, of Bawnlea Avenue, and Connors, of Kiltalown Path, Tallaght, admitted at Swords District Court to burglary.
The incident took place at a home at Oaklawns Avenue in Swords shortly before 7pm on August 31 last year.
Garda Deirdre Bradshaw said the defendants forced open the front door to the house, causing €100 damage to the door.
They entered the house, but they didn't take anything. They were arrested at the scene, and later admitted to the offence.
Garda Bradshaw said the couple lived in the house, and though they weren't at home at the time, they were upset that strangers had been inside.
The court heard that Wall, a married father with three children, had four previous convictions, all for road traffic matters.
His brother committed suicide before the offence, and he wasn't thinking clearly at the time. He apologised to the victims for his behaviour.
Connors had 31 previous convictions, including a number for burglary.
Defence lawyer Nora Cashe said Connors was drinking heavily at the time of the offence, after he broke up with his wife.
The couple, who have six children, were now back together, and he had taken the pledge not to drink again.
Judge Brady fined Connors €750, ordered him to pay compensation of €100 and sentenced him to eight months in prison.
Wall was ordered to complete 150 hours community service in lieu of seven months in prison.