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Champagne thief in 'foolish' attempt to clear gambling debt


Leon O’Shea had problem with drugs and betting at the time

Leon O’Shea had problem with drugs and betting at the time

Leon O’Shea had problem with drugs and betting at the time

A FATHER-of-two stole four bottles of champagne from a supermarket as part of a "foolish attempt" to pay off a gambling debt, a court heard.

Leon O'Shea (25) had a problem with pills and gambling at the time he took the bottles of Moet, worth a combined €200.

Judge John Brennan adjourned the case for a probation report.

Dublin District Court heard gardaí went to Tesco, Ballyfermot, at 11.40am on July 22 last year.

They were told a man had taken four bottles of Moet champagne worth €200 and passed all points of payment.

O'Shea was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballyfermot garda station. The goods were retrieved in a saleable condition, the court heard.

The accused had had difficulty with "street tablets" - non-prescription drugs - and gambling, his solicitor Margaret McEvilly said.

The theft was an attempt to pay off a debt, so it did not affect his family.

It was "foolish and not very successful because he was caught", Ms McEvilly said.

The accused was on social welfare and had been strugg- ling to provide for his family.

Since the theft, he had detoxed from tablets and dealt with his gambling problem.

He was no longer gambling, remained vice-free and his partner was standing by him, the court heard.

Judge Brennan said he was concerned that if Mr O'Shea went back gambling it could reactivate his criminal activities.

Ms McEvilly said the accused was not allowed in any of the betting shops and that was helping him as well.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case to a date in December for a probation report and for the accused to continue to stay away from gambling and pills.