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On the lamb Wexford meat thief who pretended to be undercover garda during robbery jailed

Conor Kirwan (27) stole 11 pieces of corned beef during one robbery and later stole three legs of lamb from a supermarket in the hopes of selling it on the street for drugs.

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Fresh meat counter in supermarket

Fresh meat counter in supermarket

Fresh meat counter in supermarket

A repeat meat thief who later pretended to be an undercover garda during a robbery has been jailed for four years.

Conor Kirwan (27) stole 11 pieces of corned beef during one robbery and later stole three legs of lamb from a supermarket in the hopes of selling it on the street for drugs.

In another incident, Kirwan pretended to be an undercover garda and made his unsuspecting victim take off their shoes and socks before he ran off with €30 in cash, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

The court heard that Kirwan used to work at a meat factory.

Kirwan with an address at Balbutcher Lane, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty to robbing around €137 of corned beef at Supervalu, Finglas on June 16, 2020.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of impersonating a garda at Eden Quay, Dublin city centre, on September 28, 2020.

In relation to the lamb incident, he pleaded guilty to one count of producing a syringe at Dame Street on January 3, 2021. A count of theft from Dunnes Stores on George's Street, Dublin was taken into account.

Passing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said all the offences were opportunistic and directly linked to his addictions at the time.

The judge said Kirwan was homeless arising from his addiction and stealing to fund his habit. She noted that since going into custody he has taken some positive steps in terms of addressing his addiction.

Judge Greally sentenced Kirwan to six years imprisonment, but suspended the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions.

Garda Wayne O'Brien told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that in June 2020, Kirwan was spotted on CCTV by a shop security guard filling a bag with lumps of corned beef with a total estimated value of €137.

The security guard approached Kirwan and told him to either leave the meat or pay for it. Kirwan put his hand down his trousers towards his genitals, took out an “object” and pointed it at the security guard.

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Kirwan told the guard he was going to pepper spray him as he held the “object” towards him, then left the shop and ran away. He later told gardaí following his arrest that he had had a lighter in hand rather than pepper spray.

Garda Cathy Giblin told Ms Dempsey that in relation to the garda impersonation incident, the victim in question – a student - had paused on Eden Quay to put something in his bag around 9am on the morning in question when Kirwan suddenly jumped on him from behind.

The young man thought he was being attacked, but Kirwan told him he was an undercover garda doing a drug search and he made him stand against the wall. The victim, who is in his twenties, had never had any interaction with gardaí before and believed Kirwan was a garda.

The street was busy with people walking by at the time. Kirwan told the young man to take off his shoes and socks before he started to search his bag. The victim became suspicious and repeatedly asked Kirwan for ID before Kirwan took €30 in cash from his wallet and ran off.

The victim put his shoes on and tried to give chase, before alerting nearby gardaí. He was “visibly upset and shaken”, the court heard.

Kirwan was identified from CCTV footage from the area.

In the next incident in January 2021, Kirwan was spotted by a Dunnes Stores security guard putting three legs of lamb into a bag, before leaving the George's Street store without paying for them.

The security guard gave chase, along with another store guard. The men caught up with Kirwan on Dame Street, before he took an uncapped syringe out of his pocket and pointed it at them, saying: “I'll stab you with this.”

Kirwan then threw the bag of stolen meat at the security guard before fleeing the scene. The total value of the meat recovered was €66 and it was deemed in good enough condition to be sold, the court heard.

Kirwan was once again identified from CCTV footage. He has 52 previous convictions, including for theft, assault and drug offences.

He told gardaí that his plan was to try and sell the meat to “random people on the street” and then use the money to buy drugs.

Laura Cunningham BL, defending, said her client, who is in custody, has a long-standing drug addiction. He is originally from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, but moved to Dublin to be with his partner. He was homeless at the time of the offences.

Ms Cunningham told the court that Kirwan used to have a normal life which he wants to get back to.

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