Judge Mary Larkin at Limerick District Court
A YOUNG father switched labels on meat products in Tesco claiming that he couldn’t afford food for his family.
Limerick District Court heard that John Hanley, 24, with an address at Bawny Bridge, Dock Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft at Tesco’s in the Crescent Shopping Centre on March 18 last.
The defendant put a €4 label on meat products that had a value of €26, with the centre incurring a loss of €22, Judge Mary Larkin heard.
Inspector Donal Cronin, Henry Street garda station, told the court that “perhaps his plan was over ambitious” and he was observed switching the labels by staff.
He has 74 previous convictions, including a history of theft offences, as well as handling stolen property and burglary.
The offences began in November 2009 at Blanchardstown court and in Smithfield.
His defence told the court that he is not on social welfare and has a young family.
“He has an eight-month old baby and was trying to feed his family. He had no money at the time,” said his defence.
He moved to Limerick a year ago, recently married and has one baby.
“Why doesn’t he look for a job?” asked Judge Larkin. “He’s not trying to support his family by going to Tesco robbing.”
His defence interjected to say that it wasn’t a large sum. “That’s not the point. He brought a child into the world,” replied the judge.
She imposed a one-month prison sentence suspended for 24 months on his own good behaviour. He was also ordered to enter a Section 99 bond to attend the probation services to undergo training.
“If he doesn’t engage he’ll end up back here again,” she warned.