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Gran larceny Sligo granny caught shoplifting more embarrassed about age being known than crime

"It's all over now,' Hilda told us. "You'd think I was after murdering somebody"


Hilda Devaney

Hilda Devaney

Hilda Devaney

A granny who was caught shoplifting in Penneys joked that one of the worst things about being nabbed was that everyone knows her age.

Hilda Devaney (76), from Sligo town, pleaded guilty last week to the theft of items worth €54 from the budget fashion chain.

She had appeared in Sligo District Court charged with stealing three nightdresses valued at €12 each, a top valued at €6 and shoes valued at €12 from Penneys on O'Connell Street in Sligo on July 11, 2020.

The court heard that while she had no previous convictions, Ms Devaney had received the Probation Act on previous occasions for shoplifting offences.

Ms Devaney told the Sunday World this week she was on heavy medication due to an artery issue when she stole the items.

The gran laughed as she said her crime days are behind her and she doesn't expect to feature on Crimecall anytime soon.

"It's all over now," Hilda told us. "You'd think I was after murdering somebody."


Reporter Alan Sherry talks with Hilda Devaney

Reporter Alan Sherry talks with Hilda Devaney

Reporter Alan Sherry talks with Hilda Devaney

She said one of the worst things about appearing in court is that everyone now knows her age after an article on the case appeared in her local paper the Sligo Champion.

"It was terrible. My sisters and brother rang me and all. They seen it in the paper. It's a small town this. They understood I wasn't well at the time and I was on heavy medication.

"Everybody knows my age now! I can't hide it," she said laughing.

Her solicitor John Anderson said that Ms Devaney was pleading guilty and apologised for her behaviour.

The court heard a security guard spotted her concealing the items and he followed her out of the shop and confronted her.

Ms Devaney told the Sunday World she was shocked when she was caught, and agreed it was unusual for a respectable woman of her age to get caught shoplifting.

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"It is an unusual thing alright. It certainly was a shock for me. Why didn't they pick on someone else and not on me? They know I was very ill."

She explained how she was on medication at the time of the offence and provided medical reports to the court.

"I tell you what happened to me there, I wasn't well. I had bad health for four-and-a-half months. An artery broke and all that and I was on heavy medication. I was thinking to myself [when I was caught] 'what are you doing a stupid thing like that making a disgrace of yourself - a disgrace - it was terrible."

She said the medication left her confused at the time.

"I got confused. Sure, I went to the wrong house at one stage. I went to a house I lived in years before that. I was totally confused.

"I also lost my eyesight completely in one eye. I got a cataract. With all that health stuff [that's why it happened]. It was about two or three years ago now."

She said shoplifting was not something she had been at for years.

"I haven't been at it all my life."


Hilda Devaney

Hilda Devaney

Hilda Devaney

While she has no criminal record, Ms Devaney admitted to the Sunday World she was caught shoplifting on previous occasions and given the benefit of the Probation Act in 2014.

"Twice before, that was all around the same time," she said.

She said she didn't take many items and was surprised to be charged over the offence.

While she was able to laugh about the experience when speaking to the Sunday World, she added: "I cried, too, I did."

The court heard that after Ms Devaney was confronted the items were recovered so Penneys was not at a loss.

Judge Sandra Murphy adjourned the case until May 5 for a probation report.

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