Woman ran ‘burglar getaway service’

A woman who operated a text-a-getaway driver service for burglars fell under the spell of other gang members, a court has heard.

Nicole Gibson, aged 21, offered criminals her services to help them make a clean getaway after robberies across Co Donegal in February 2012.

She helped move a range of stolen goods including a motorbike and copper wire worth thousands of euro in her own car.

Gibson, a trainee hairdresser from Raphoe, Co Donegal, even hooked up a trailer to her car to transport the goods to a scrap metal yard.

Gibson appeared in court again yesterday after a court ordered a probation report.

A previous sitting of Letterkenny District Court heard Gibson was charged with three different incidents including break-ins at a school and private houses She responded to the requests in removing stolen goods on three occasions that were before the courts, including a robbery at Royal & Prior school in Raphoe.

“She would be at home and would get a text message to pick people up,” said Garda Eoin Waters.

In the case of the school, she had hooked up a trailer to her car to make off with garden equipment stolen from the premises including an expensive Kawasaki quad.

On two other occasions, in Manorcunningham and St Johnston, Gibson collected criminals and thousands of euro worth of copper stolen from houses under construction in the area.

Garda Waters revealed that €3,300 worth of copper was stolen in the incidents, and €700 worth of damage done to the properties.

Gibson, whose address in court was given as Meadow Hill, Raphoe, but who now lives at The Green, Convoy, would then distribute the cash from the sold metals to the thieves.

“The copper was sold to a scrapyard in Derry,” said Garda Waters.

The tools from the school heist were later recovered by the PSNI, he said.

Gardaí investigated the thefts which took place in February 2012.

Assistance from the public had identified that Gibson’s getaway car had been seen in the areas around the time of the thefts which took place over a period of six days. When she was questioned, she admitted her role in the crimes.

Pleading for leniency, Kieran Dillon, defence solicitor, said his client was the victim of other gang members. “She was used by other people and is still in recovery from a very serious incident when she was younger. She fell under their spell and became involved in things she regrets. She had a very good upbringing up until this time.”

The court heard Gibson has not come to Garda attention since the robberies and now wanted to go onto third level education.

Judge Paul Kelly said the probation report spoke very favourably of Gibson and the unlikely event of her re-offending. He struck out all matters against Gibson and remarked that he was aware that she had paid a sum of compensation.

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