Burglar jailed after he was caught by gardaí running away from a school break-in with a safe under his arm

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By Fiona Ferguson

A burglar caught by gardai running down the street with a school safe concealed in a black bag under his arm has been jailed for two and a half years.

Martin Ward (43) was also spotted by gardai attempting to gain entry to several premises using a plastic “slip” to open locked doors.

Ward, who has 42 previous convictions, was on bail for 11 other offence at the time.

Ward, of Townsend Street, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a stolen safe on November 2,2020 and possession of articles to be used in connection with burglary on August 4, 2020.

The court heard Ward was kept under observation by two gardai en route from O’Connell Street on August 4,2020 and observed endeavouring to enter a number of premises before successfully using a plastic “slip” to gain access to the foyer of an apartment block on Bolton Street.

Ward was apprehended in the foyer and did not gain access to any apartments.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that in the second offence he was found in possession of a safe stolen from the secretary’s office of St Declan’s school, Northumberland Road on November 2, 2020.

Gardai told the court they received reports of a male leaving the school and on their way to investigate they encountered Ward running from the direction of Bolton Street.

They stopped Ward, who was sweating profusely and acting suspiciously, and found the school safe in a black refuse sack concealed under his arm.

It was undamaged and unopened, and gardai returned it to the school.

In sentencing, Judge Greally noted his lengthy history of convictions including 17 prior convictions for burglaries.

She said he was a man who has had a difficult life with little in the way of opportunity.

She noted a psychologists report set out the difficulties he experienced in his early life and how that influenced the path he has taken.

Judge Greally said he had a lifelong difficulty with drugs, but appears to be in the early stages of addressing that.

She said she would incorporate a suspensory period into the sentencing to incentivise him in his efforts to address his addiction.

The judge imposed consecutive sentences totally three years and suspended the final six months.

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