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Dublin youth broke into 14 cars in two days to pay back drug debt to group of "heavies"

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Court: The teen broke into 14 cars during a two-day crime spree
Court: The teen broke into 14 cars during a two-day crime spree

A DUBLIN youth, who broke into 14 cars in two days to pay back a drug debt to a group of “heavies” has racked up more charges while he was on bail.

Judge John O'Connor adjourned sentencing after the boy, 17, entered guilty pleas to new charges including burglary; he warned the youth a custodial sentence was not being ruled out.

He remanded the teen on bail to appear again on May 29 when a probation report will be furnished to the Dublin Children's Court.

“Your drug addiction lead to an awful lot of people suffering from your behaviour”, he told the boy who claims he had to pay off “heavies” when they put pressure on him to clear a drug debt.

The teenager has started attending an addiction treatment programme, has got onto a training course, and the latest tests show he is off drugs, his solicitor told the court.

He had already pleaded guilty to a litany of charges: criminal damage, attempted burglary and possessing implements for use in a theft. They were in connection with incidents in the Dublin 7 area on December 4, 2013 and January 24 last year.

However, while on bail sentencing he picked up new charges – criminal damage, burglary and theft – to which he has also pleaded guilty.

Judge O'Connor heard that on January 22 last he caused €250 worth of damages to a door to underground car park at a Dublin 4 apartment block; on February 8 last, the teen was with a group who stole a bike valued €2,500 from a building on Benburb Street; on March 25 last he smashed in a car window while “highly intoxicated”, and he stole a set of Allen keys from a hardware shop on another date.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble has said the youth, who was accompanied to court by his father, needed to “discharge a debt” and had been attempting to take goods “to sell them on to fund his habit”.

Earlier the court had heard that the young offender had been doing well in school and active in sports until he began abusing “street tablets” which led to him building up a massive drug-debt to people who later began to intimidate his family.

He broke into 14 cars during a two-day crime spree , and when he came to court he pleaded guilty to 15 criminal damage charges. The then 16-year-old also admitted four connected charges for: possessing a long piece of steel and a hammer use in thefts, theft of €5 and a bottle of aftershave, and one for attempted burglary.

All these incidents happened at houses in the Dublin 7 in December.

Garda Adrian Burns had said 14 cars were broken into and had property taken from them. The teenager had been arrested when he committed more offences in January. He was spotted coming out of a garage at the side of a house and tried to hide from gardai.

Mr Noble has said the crimes happened at a time the boy had become heavily addicted to “tablets he procured on the street”. He was in school and was involved in sports but both “fell by the wayside” as a result of his taking drugs, described in court as “street tablets”.

“In these circumstances he was not able to afford the amount of drugs he was consuming on a daily basis,” the lawyer has said. The teen was under influence of these pills when the offences took place and his “memory is somewhat blighted”, the judge has also been told. heard.

The juvenile court was also told the teen's drug-taking led to him building up debts which placed his family under huge strain. They were “visited on occasions by a number of local heavies asking for the money back”.

“To do that, they suggested he get the money whatever way he could,” the teen's lawyer had also said. The boy was given a “time-scale to get it back” and committed the offences to build up the funds necessary to pay the money, the court has heard.