Limerick gardai were concerned about 'series of burglaries' at industrial premises

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The court heard that all of the offences  occurred on dates between January and April 2016

The court heard that all of the offences occurred on dates between January and April 2016

A MAN has admitted breaking into several commercial and industrial premises on the outskirts of Limerick city in order to fund his drug addiction.

Gerard O’Neill, aged 23, of New Crescent Halting Site, Childers Road, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the theft of property worth more than €12,000.

Detective Garda Neil O’Gorman told Limerick Circuit Court all of the offences  occurred on dates between January and April 2016.

He said a specific garda operation was put in place after gardai became concerned about a “series of burglaries” which had occurred at industrial premises in the Ballysimon area.

He told John O’Sullivan BL, instructed by State Solicitor Padraig Mawe, that a modus operandi and a pattern were identified and that O’Neill “soon emerged as a suspect”.

During a sentencing hearing, Judge Tom O’Donnell was told that one premises at Garryglass Industrial Estate  – Indespension Trailers – was targeted several times by the defendant who was described as a recidivist.

On each occasion, the defendant entered the premises late at night and stole a large number of wheels which he removed from trailers which were parked in the yard.

Another of the offences related to the theft of security cameras from a premises at Monoclinoe Industrial Estate while the 23-year-old also damaged the shutters of a separate premises in the same area.

O’Neill also admitted breaking into a premises at Eastway Business Park as well as Costa at the Limerick One Retail Park.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the defendant was identified on CCTV near one premises which was broken into and that following his arrest he made admissions in relation to all of the burglaries.

None of the stolen property was ever recovered and compensation has not been paid for the damage that was caused.

Yvonne Quinn BL said her client told gardai he was “stoned off his head” when he committed the offences and that there are mental health issues in the background.

She said her client, who is not working, did not try to deny his involvement in the spate of break-ins.

“His sole motivation was to raise money to fuel his cocaine addiction,” she said.

Ms Quinn said that her client is of “limited intellectual capacity” and she submitted his guilty pleas were of importance to gardai given the absence of forensic evidence linking him to the burglaries.

She added that O’Neill’s girlfriend is pregnant and that this has seen him “refocus his thinking in life”.

Judge O’Donnell adjourned sentencing to July 26, next to facilitate the preparation of a Probation Report.