'Pinging' phone led gardaí to suspect's tent on the outskirts of Longford town
A homeless man living in a tent on the outskirts of Longford town has been found guilty of handling stolen property after picking up a mobile phone from a fellow train passenger en route back to Longford.
Mark Farrell (30) with an address at 20 Annally Gardens, Longford pleaded guilty last week to a charge made under the provisions of Section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.
Sgt Andy McGauran gave evidence of having arrested Mr Farrell the day previously on foot of a bench warrant before later charging and cautioning him.
He said Mr Farrell made no reply after caution.
Defending, Frank Gearty said his client had been going through some difficult personal troubles and despite not coming to garda attention for some years, he was now living in a tent on the outer fringes of Longford town.
“It seems that the tent came under garda attention,” said Mr Gearty.
Sgt McGauran added the victim in the case contacted gardaí and after engaging a ‘Find My Phone’ application on his home computer the mobile phone in question started to ping off a location in Longford town.
The Longford sergeant said he proceeded to the location where the phone appeared to be located and met with Mr Farrell who handed over the phone.
Prior to sentencing, the court was told Mr Farrell had nine previous convictions on his record, the most recent of which dated back to a theft offence in January 2014 at Sligo District Court.
In mitigation, Mr Gearty said his client was apologetic over what had occurred and was well aware he should have handed the phone over to Irish Rail personnel.
Judge Seamus Hughes consequently fined Mr Farrell €105 and gave him three months to pay.