County Limerick man is jailed for stealing copper during break-ins

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A BALLYNEETY man was sentenced to fifteen months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of euro worth of copper during several burglaries earlier this year.

A BALLYNEETY man was sentenced to fifteen months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of euro worth of copper during several burglaries earlier this year.

Gerard Kelly, 20, of St Francis House, Ballinagarde, Ballyneety pleaded guilty to breaking into private homes at Luddenmore, Grange, Knockroe, Wilson-Grange and BallymacCrease, Ballyneety on dates in February.

Kelly, who is a son of former city alderman, Michael Kelly, appeared before Limerick Court via video link from Limerick Prison.

Sgt Michelle Leahy, Henry Street, told the Court that Kelly stole copper cables and wiring worth €100 from one of the houses.

He stole two rolls of copper, worth €200 from another house and from the third he stole copper cables worth around €400.

Kelly also pleaded guilty to stealing copper cylinders from houses in Caherconlish, Ballyclough and Drombanna around the same time.

Solicitor John Herbert, representing Kelly, said none of the houses were occupied at the time of the burglaries and he said his client, who has seven previous convictions, had made admissions following his arrest.

Mr Herbert said his client accepted his actions were “out of order” but he said he stolen the copper as he did not have any money at the time.

He told the court, Kelly had committed the offences around the same time that his family had lost possession of their home in Ballyneety.

Judge Eamon O’Brien was told that situation had since been resolved and Mr Herbert said: “I doubt there will be a recurrence [of the offences]”.

Imposing sentence, Judge O’Brien said Kelly had gone on a “total rampage” and he noted garda evidence that none of the stolen property had been recovered.

“Stealing copper seems to be his speciality,” commented the judge, who imposed consecutive prison sentences totalling fifteen months.

A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated April 21, 2012