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Two neighbours caught stealing council railings

TWO neighbours who removed metal railings from a council-owned wall have each been sentenced to four months in prison.

Eddie Stokes (44) and David McDonagh (39) were caught in the act by two officials from Fingal County Council.

Judge David McHugh imposed a four-month sentence in each case and he refused to suspend it, saying the men had shown a level of pre-mediation.

The defendants, both with an address at St Margaret's Park in Ballymun, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing metal railings, worth €1,400, from Damastown Avenue in Mulhuddart on July 23 last.

The court heard that the railings belonged to Fingal County Council. Garda Conor Mallen said two council officials came across the defendants removing the metal railings and placing them into a jeep.

The court previously heard that an angle grinder was used to remove the metal railings from the wall.

Gda Mallen said the value of the property was €1,400, and it was recovered.

The garda said the men claimed they were stealing the railings as they hoped to sell them as scrap.

The court heard that McDonagh has 79 previous convictions while Stokes has 29 previous convictions.

In relation to McDonagh, defence solicitor John O'Doherty said the defendant is a married man with nine children. He is unemployed and on social welfare.

The court heard that Stokes is engaged to be married and his fiancée is expecting their first child.

He is also on social welfare.

Mr O'Doherty said the men "saw an opportunity" and stole the railings.

He said that the men did not cause any difficulties for gardai, and prior to this incident they had not been in trouble for a number of years.

The men immediately indicated they would be appealing the sentence.