Chef found with safe stolen during Storm Ophelia sentenced to two years

A chef broke into a credit union in the early hours of last New Year's Eve and was later found to have had in his apartment a steel safe that had been stolen from a Boylesports betting shop during the electricity blackout of Storm Ophelia.

Chef found with safe stolen during Storm Ophelia sentenced to two years

A chef broke into a credit union in the early hours of last New Year's Eve and was later found to have had in his apartment a steel safe that had been stolen from a Boylesports betting shop during the electricity blackout of Storm Ophelia.

Mohamed Boussir, a 28-year-old Spaniard, had also tried to break into a pub - called The Spaniard - in the County Cork town of Kinsale.

Bandon District Court heard that Mr Boussir, of Apartment 1, Market Place in Kinsale, broke into the credit union in the town only after going to his then-place of work to drop off his rubbish.

Sgt Paul Kelly, prosecuting, told the court that at 4.35am on December 31 last Mr Boussir broke the front window of Kinsale Credit Union with a brick and gained entry, going on to smash the front counter screen.

Having reached the customer area he searched drawers and then tried but failed to gain entry to the rear of the building.

Gardaí arrived at the scene having been alerted by an alarm, at which point Mr Boussir attempted to discard a metal crowbar.

Sgt Kelly said a significant investigation then took place, leading to a search of Mr Boussir's home where on January 2 last the steel safe was found, along with a bag of coins, a coin holder and AIB lodgement slips.

The court heard that the safe had been stolen from a local Boylesports on October 16, 2017 during Storm Ophelia when the power was off.

Judge James McNulty also heard that on December 16 last Mr Boussir broke two front windows and one rear window at the Spaniard Bar.

It was also alleged that he moved CCTV cameras in a bid to avoid detection.

Gardaí withdrew the charge of trespass with intent at the bar and a charge relating to possession of the crowbar and Mr Boussir, who is 28 and who has lived in Ireland for five years, pleaded guilty to the remaining charges.

Defence solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, said his client worked in the Clayton Hotel in Cork as a sous chef having previously worked in Kinsale and had never previously come to garda attention.

He had no previous convictions and his employers spoke highly of him, with Mr Fleming stating that the offences were "bizarre" and that a lot drink was involved.

He said Mr Boussir had gone to his place of work to drop off his rubbish on New Year's Eve, then picked up the stone and the crowbar.

As for the Boylesports safe, Mr Fleming said that had sat in Mr Boussir's apartment for more than a year and had around €250 in it.

Judge McNulty said its removal during a storm indicates "a thinking, opportunistic break-in", while the credit union incident was "more brazen and much more serious".

The court heard the damage to the windows at the Credit Union amounted to €2,000, and the damage caused at the Spaniard amounted to €350.

Mr Boussir had €1,800 in court.

Judge McNulty directed that €400 be given to the pub and the remainder to the credit union.

The judge also handed down three jail sentences of eight months in relation to the three separate incidents, with the sentences to run together and recognisance for any appeal set on Mr Boussir's own bond of €100.

An order to have the safe returned to Boylesports was also granted.

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