South East man jailed for 20 months for crime spree

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A Carrick-on-Suir man has been sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for jumping over the counter of a Chinese restaurant and stealing €360 and also attempting to steal cash from the till of a Clonmel shop.

Judge Terence Finn imposed two consecutive ten months prison sentences on Eric O'Neill of No. 9 St John's Tce., Carrick-on-Suir after he pleaded guilty at Carrick-on-Suir District Court to committing these two offences.

The Judge also imposed concurrent sentences for a number of other theft, burglary and criminal damage offences O'Neill committed in Carrick-on-Suir between May and August this year.

Gda. John Downey gave evidence that O'Neill entered Bergin's Fine Food Fair store at Parnell Street in Clonmel at approximately 11am on April 18. As the store assistant opened the till, O'Neill reached forward intending to take cash but was unsuccessful.

O'Neill entered Carrick-on-Suir Tennis Club through the rear door between 3pm and 5.40pm on May 23 and stole a cash box containing €100 cash. He changed the coinage in the cash box for notes at Clonmel Credit Union and the transaction was captured on CCTV. The property wasn't recovered.

His crime spree continued on the night of August 17 and 18 when he caused €180 worth of damage attempting to enter the Primo Service Station in Carrick-on-Suir.

Gda. Downey continued that on August 19 he threw a rock through the window of a Nissan Qashqai parked at St Nicholas Park in Carrick-on-Suir causing €370 worth of damage to the vehicle.

The same night he smashed the window of a car parked at New Street Car Park in Carrick-on-Suir and stole a LG television valued at €100 and €90 worth of tobacco. He also caused €220 worth of damage to the window of a second car in the same car park.

Finally on September 5, O'Neill entered the Dragon Chinese Restaurant at Kickham Street in Carrick-on-Suir at 7.30pm. He leaped over the counter and stole €360.

Gda. Downey said O'Neill's eight previous convictions included theft, criminal damage, robbery and possession of illegal drugs.
Defence solicitor John Joy said his client got involved in drugs in his late teens and got into a vicious cycle of owing money and committing crime. He admitted everything when he was apprehended by the gardai. He had an appointment for an assessment at the Bruree Drug Treatment Centre and accepted he will have to serve a prison sentence.

"He is determined to deal with his serious drugs problem on his release."

The solicitor pointed out that O'Neill was ashamed of his actions and apologised to the court and the injured parties for his behaviour.

He lived with his parents and came from a very respectable family, who were quite devastated by this turn of events. No other members of his family had been in any trouble before.

Mr Joy added that his client was an extremely polite young man when he was not under the influence of drugs.