A Longford man has been sentenced to four months in prison, and his wife given a four month suspended sentence, for being in possession of a stolen caravan.
Bernie McDonagh and Teresa Doyle, 1 Richmond Street, Longford, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes on June 19 where Mr McDonagh pleaded not guilty and Ms Doyle pleaded guilty.
Sgt Paddy McGirl, for the state, explained that gardaí received a call from a representative of an insurance company to report that a caravan stolen from the UK a number of months ago was parked outside a Richmond Street home.
Ms Doyle had previously told the court she’d bought the caravan from DoneDeal for €7,500 but, when asked by Judge Hughes to produce the ad or phone number of the person she bought it from, Ms Doyle explained that all the information was in a phone which had been broken.
“The vehicle was examined by the stolen vehicle unit and the chassis number was not interfered with,” said Sgt McGirl.
“But on every window, the chassis number is printed and one digit was changed from a 9 to an 8 to give a false ID on the vehicle.”
Judge Hughes insisted that it’s “very easy to ring up DoneDeal” and that “they have all the archives”.
“If she bought something for €7,500, she should not be pleading guilty,” he insisted.
“But it’s as obvious as the nose on my face that she’s taking the rap, with four children between the ages of one and nine and daring me not to send her to prison, while the husband is pleading not guilty.”
He advised the couple to discuss the situation with their solicitors and, at a second calling, Mr McDonagh had agreed to plead guilty.
“This is a common enterprise. If you had purchased the caravan and you’d had proof that you paid €7,500 for it, I’d have said that was great value.”
Judge Hughes proceeded to hand down a four month sentence to both Mr McDonagh and Ms Doyle, suspending Ms Doyle’s sentence for a total of three years.
He then made an order that the stolen caravan be returned to its owners in the UK as soon as possible.