Michael Myles Connors, aged 74, from The Avenue, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary on May 13, 2012, at Kilberry, Navan, Co Meath.
Garda Katryn Christie told Carl Hanahoe, prosecuting, that a woman became suspicious when one of the gang called to her house looking for directions to the nearest filling station.
The woman followed the gang’s car and when it did not call into the filling station she alerted gardaí.
Gardaí on patrol in the area saw two of the gang coming out of the driveway of a house at Kilberry, where they were picked up by Connors.
The gardaí stopped the car and found two laptops taken from the house, while video games taken from an earlier break-in to a house at Creewood, Slane, were found in Connors’ pockets.
Garda Christie said the gang broke into the houses, which were empty at the time, by breaking windows at the rear of the premises.
Connors denied to gardaí that he had broken into the houses but admitted driving the other two culprits, one of whom was a grandson.
The court heard that Connors had 94 previous convictions dating from 1959 to 2012.
The convictions include nine for burglary and, at the time of the offence, Connors should not have been driving as he had been banned in 2011 for 25 years.
A defence barrister said his client was a widower who lived alone and had to use an oxygen tank everyday as he was chronically ill and had early signs of dementia. He urged Judge Michael O’Shea not to jail Connors and give him one final chance so he could live out his life in peace.
Judge O’Shea told the lawyer Connors’ age could not be used as a shield. He said Connors had been part of a joint venture and had driven the other two to the house and been the driver of the getaway car.
The judge sentenced Connors to two-and-a-half years, which he suspended on condition that the defendant enter a bond of €200 to be of good behaviour for three years.