Man, 62, jailed for 'fishing' money from Cork church collection boxes to fund addictions

St Augustine’s Church, Cork

A heroin addict with a gambling problem found that ‘fishing’ money out of church collection boxes was the easiest way he could think of to pay for his addictions.

The 62-year-old who was jailed for five months last week had 11 more counts to come against him for thefts or having implements enabling him to steal.

Charles Nolan of Deerpark hostel, Friars Walk, was using narrow bars from clothes hangers, and tweezers to pull notes out of donation boxes.

When Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a five-month jail term on him last week, it was indicated that there were more charges being processed at that time.

Judge Kelleher said today: “It is more serious than I realised.”

The judge imposed a seven-month sentence to run concurrently with the five months imposed last week.

Michael Quinlan, solicitor, said the defendant had a heroin addiction and found that the easiest way to get money to feed his addictions – “even though it is not the nicest way” – was to steal from the collection boxes.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis said the accused told gardaí that he had a gambling addiction.

The thefts on which he was jailed yesterday were committed at the Church of the Annunciation in Blackpool, and St Augustine’s on Grand Parade.

Last week he was sentenced for thefts at St Peter and Paul’s Church and Holy Trinity Church in Cork city.

Garda Lorraine O’Donovan said Nolan was still turning up at churches when he was out on bail on condition that he would stay away from churches.

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