A MAN who ‘stripped’ several Limerick council-owned houses of significant quantities of copper piping and copper tanks will have to carry out community service to avoid a prison sentence.
John McNamara, aged 22, who has an address at Main Street, Fedamore pleaded guilty to several burglary and theft charges relating to a number of break-ins in the Southill area of the city on dates during April 2017.
Sergeant Donal Cronin told Limerick District Court, a number of houses at Keyes Park and O’Malley Park were broken into and that the defendant was captured on “high quality CCTV footage” carrying a copper cylinder which had been removed from one of the houses a short time earlier.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told none of the houses were occupied that they were boarded when they were broken into.
Solicitor Sarah Ryan said her client was acting on “local knowledge” that the houses had been earmarked for demolition by the local authority.
“It’s in that context that he went in,” she said, adding that Mr McNamara saw it as “opportunity to make an extra bit of cash”.
Sgt Cronin said some water damage had been caused as a result of the theft of the copper but that the stolen metal had been recovered,
He added that he was unaware as to the status of the houses which had been targeted.
Ms Ryan said her client, who has 17 previous convictions, has a young family and is now living outside of the city with his wife.
When Judge O’Leary commented that notices are usually erected on buildings earmarked for demolition, Ms Ryan insisted the defendant was acting on local knowledge.
“He is involved in the scrap metal business,” she said.
After being informed Mr McNamara is a suitable candidate for community service, the judge imposed a penalty of 150 hours in lieu of a three month prison sentence.
The hours must be completed within 12 months.