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cara-caught Gardai nab caravan thief after using dozens of CCTV cameras to track his route

'People were deprived of their caravan and it is an awful thing. He realises this as he was previously homeless himself

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Gardai tracked the stolen caravan for more than 169 kilometres before finally nabbing the thief

Gardai tracked the stolen caravan for more than 169 kilometres before finally nabbing the thief

Gardai tracked the stolen caravan for more than 169 kilometres before finally nabbing the thief

Canny gardai tracked a stolen caravan more than 169 kilometres using dozens of CCTV cameras along the route before finally nabbing the thief.

Stephen Ward appeared before Falcarragh District Court in Co Donegal charged with theft.

The court was told that on September 7, 2019 a Hobby Caravan model 570 was stolen from the property of George Gilmore at Ballyness, Falcarragh.

Local gardai got their thinking hats on and viewed dozens of CCTV cameras in a bid to track down the 27ft long caravan which is valued at €9,200.

They viewed CCTV footage leaving all directions out of Falcarragh and spotted the caravan being towed.

They then crossed-referenced dozens of CCTV cameras along a 162km route before tracking the caravan to an address at Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.

When gardai seized the caravan, there was €4,471 worth of damage or property missing.

Ward, a 21-year-old father-of-one from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, appeared at the court accompanied by his wife.

His solicitor Mr Rory O'Brien said his client had planned to use the caravan for living accommodation.

He said his client had been told the caravan had been abandoned as the owner had passed away.

Mr O'Brien said this was not an excuse but this is what Ward told the gardai when they arrived at his door.

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He said Ward admitted being at the scene but was not driving the vehicle which towed away the caravan.

"People were deprived of their caravan and it is an awful thing. He realises this as he was previously homeless himself," said Mr O'Brien.

The accused has no previous convictions and Mr O'Brien pleaded with Judge Raymond Finnegan not to jail his client.

Judge Finnegan said there was still a shortfall to the caravan owner of more than €4,000.

Mr O'Brien said his client had €445 in court and could work on getting the balance if given time.

"That gets him some time but the balance has to be paid," said Judge Finnegan.

He adjourned the case until March 16 and said he expected half of the compensation to be paid by then.

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