Man was so drunk and high he forgot robbing the coin box from a parking metre

Man was so drunk and high he forgot robbing the coin box from a parking metre

A Dublin father-of-two who stole €3,000 in coins from a cash services van but can't recall what he did with it has been given a five year sentence for this and a bookies robbery.

Michael Byrne (25) accepted he had committed the theft since he'd left fingerprints at the scene, but told gardai that he had been drinking and taking drugs so he couldn't remember the offence.

Garda Conor Walsh said two G4S workers had left their van for about four minutes to remove a coin box from a nearby parking meter.

Byrne, of Thornville Drive, Kilbarrack, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing the cash at Main Street, Raheny on March 26, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to robbing €450 from Paddy Power, Greendale Shopping Centre, Kilbarrack on April 25, 2014.

He has 77 previous convictions, including four robbery and 12 criminal damage offences.

Byrne is already serving a total of five years for robbery and criminal damage and committed the bookies crime a few days after being charged for one of those offences.

He will serve his new five year sentence when a term of two years for the previous offence expires.

Gda Walsh told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that the G4S workers had locked the van, but there was a hole in the bulkhead from a previous incident.

Two witnesses rang gardai when they noticed the occupants of a silver Ford Mondeo acting suspiciously around the cash van.

Gardai later recovered Byrne's fingerprints on the van and identified him on CCTV from a nearby petrol station.

Byrne told gardai he didn't remember the incident and didn't know what he had done with the coins.

Gda Walsh told Ms Lacey that Byrne robbed a Paddy Power shop with two other males a month later.

The two staff had ducked under the till when they saw one male holding what looked like a shotgun.

One victim then threw €450 out past the glass partition screen when a raider started to smash it. The men left when they thought they heard gardai arrive.

Byrne claimed he had been drinking and taking tablets that day, but accepted he was the man holding the weapon and smashing the glass screen with a hammer. He said this weapon was two poles stuck together to look like a shotgun.

Gda Walsh agreed with Rebecca Smith BL, defending, that the coin box theft had been an opportunistic offence.

He further accepted that Byrne is the only person to be charged with the robbery and that he had “been on a bender” at the time.

Ms Smith submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that her client's partner of 11 years was influencing Byrne to change his ways.

Judge Nolan noted that crimes involving replica firearms were serious as the victims would believe they were being threatened by a real gun.