'Serial offender' broke Covid-19 laws to steal fuel

'Serial offender' broke Covid-19 laws to steal fuel
Richard Kiely had been reselling the fuel to help pay a debt built up from using cocaine, the court heard.

A 29-year-old Dublin man, who broke the Covid-19 movement restriction laws when he carried out a litany of fuel drive-off thefts from petrol stations has been given a four-month suspended sentence.

“Serial offender” Richard Kiely, from Ballyowen Lane, Lucan, Co Dublin was also handed a two-year road ban after he paid €850 for the fuel he stole from stations 20 times in recent months.

Kiely, who had been driving a ‘181-reg Skoda, had been reselling the fuel to help pay a debt built up from using cocaine, Dublin District Court heard.

He had pleaded guilty to 20 counts of theft from petrol stations in Dublin and Kildare. He also admitted 13 offences for breaking the new movement restrictions laws brought in to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These happened while he was stealing the fuel and on occasions, “he did alter alter the reg-plate of his car to get away with it”, said Detective Garda Rachel Goggins.

Gardaí also asked for a road ban to be considered because of the use of the car in the thefts.

Family 'horrified' to find out

Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Simon Fleming said his client had used the fuel to sell on, to pay a cocaine debt. The court was entitled to make a disqualification order.

Mr Fleming said his client had hidden his drug use from his family who were blissfully unaware of what was happening, but were horrified when they found out.

He has now come under the wing of his father, who was in court and paid the money for the thefts. He has also given Kiely a job.

Judge Jones described him as a decent man and said his son was lucky not to be getting a 10-month prison term.

He imposed a four-month sentence but suspended it for two years and banned him from driving for the same period.

“He is a lucky man not to be sitting in a cell,” he added. Describing Kiely as a serial offender, he said he was keeping him on a very short leash and he will be going to prison for a very long time if he re-offends.

He instructed gardaí to bring him back before him at any time if he is caught driving while banned.

He had 11 prior convictions including driving without insurance and motor tax, possession of articles for use in theft, and assault causing harm.

His solicitor also said that his client was pleading guilty to other further fuel theft charges. Judge Jones adjourned these to a later date.

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