Man descends into rage after 'being accused of stealing chocolate Santa'

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A man who felt he had been accused of pilfering a chocolate Santa from an Aldi store abused a member of staff after becoming furious, a court heard.

Thurles District Court heard that Dan Connors, of Killenaule, Co Tipperary, was in the Aldi supermarket in Thurles on December 21, 2015, when he failed to pay for an item before leaving the shop.

Sergeant Declan O'Carroll told the court that "the defendant had left the shop" before returning and becoming "irate" with a member of staff.

The court heard that Mr Connors (20) became "aggressive" towards the female staff member.

The defendant was charged with taking a "confectionery item" (the chocolate Santa), along with frozen foods and reusable bags. Altogether, the items were valued at €3.95.

He was further charged with being abusive and threatening in a public place.

Mr Connors was serving a "lengthy sentence" that concerned the possession and handling of stolen property, Sgt O'Carroll told Judge Elizabeth McGrath. He also has prior convictions for theft, as well as for road traffic incidents.

Mr Connors' solicitor described his client as a "young man" who is married and has two kids. The court heard that he was out buying goods when a staff member "accused him of shoplifting".

This "false allegation" of taking the chocolate Santa, which he "forgot to pay for", caused Mr Connors to become "frustrated".

The defendant's solicitor further added that Mr Connors wished to apologise to the court. He was handed a €200 fine for theft by Judge McGrath.