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Heroin addict desperate for cash tried to rob local shop and chemist

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A heroin addict who was so desperate for cash that he tried to rob his local shop and pharmacy will be sentenced next July.

Daniel Weldon (31) was also so intoxicated that he left “a trail of money in his wake” from another raid that same day. His attempts at robbery failed both times when the shop owners refused to give him anything.

Weldon was instantly recognised by the first shopkeeper when he went in armed with what she described as a “black handled carving knife” and demanded money from the till.

The woman replied “get out Danny, get out” before she took him by the arm and pushed him out the door.

Minutes later Weldon tried to raid a nearby pharmacy when he shouted at the counter staff to open the till and “give me the money”. Again he was immediately recognised as a regular customer and the woman replied “Daniel we have no money” before he left the shop.

Weldon with addresses at Glasmore Park and Seatown Terrace, both in Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the two attempted robberies in Swords on July 1, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to a robbery on the same day in a second pharmacy on the Main Street in Swords during which he successfully took €230.

Garda Thomas Tighe told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that Weldon was so intoxicated on the morning that he couldn't see a second till that was right in front of him and ordered the staff to show him where it was. He also dropped notes as he was leaving.

Weldon further pleaded guilty to a robbery at a Spar Shop on Upper O'Connell Street on April 7, 2015 during which he threatened staff with what they described as “a blood filled syringe”.

Weldon managed to grab €80 from the till before fleeing the scene. He left the needle of the syringe behind in the till drawer and some of the notes which fell as he was leaving were blood stained.

The court heard that the barrel of the syringe was also left behind on the shop floor and later sent off for technical examination but it couldn't be confirmed that the substance in it was blood. One staff member had blood on his clothing.

Weldon insisted in subsequent garda interviews that there was no blood in the syringe. He said he had cut himself during the raid which caused the blood staining on the notes and the victim's clothing.

Weldon has 52 previous convictions including robbery, attempted robbery, theft, public order and drug offences.

Gda Tighe agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending that Weldon left “a trail of money in his wake” from the Swords robbery and was later found by gardaí “making his way through shrubbery” in the local area.

He accepted that Weldon looks much healthier than he did at the time of his arrest.

Mr Le Vert accepted that the victim impact reports indicated that his client's crimes had devastating impacts on the staff even though two of them did recognise Weldon. Weldon had written letters of apology for the victims.

Counsel said Weldon was using heroin by the time he was 15 years old but he is now off drugs for a year.

He said this is the longest time Weldon has been drug free and he has since “gained insight” into what needs to be done to break his cycle of abusing drugs and committing crime.

Mr Le Vert said Weldon had completed many courses since his remand in custody last July and was hoping to work in health and fitness when he leaves prison.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing to July 5 next and ordered a probation report for that date.