Gardaí found a 22-year-old man with his hands soaked in diesel when they were called to the scene of a theft from a business premises in Letterkenny, Falcarragh District Court has heard.

Inspector Denis Joyce told the court that gardaí attended Letterkenny Concrete at Cullion Road on February 8th last after William McLaughlin had spotted two males using a syphon pump to steal diesel from his yard. They observed two women sitting in a UK registered car at the premises and two males running towards a ditch. Gardaí apprehended Martin Maughan at the scene “with his hands soaked in diesel”.

Defence solicitor Kieran Dillion said the co-accused in the case had been the instigator in the incident while his client “had foolishly went along with the plan”. He said that the two men had been coming from a wedding when they decided to carry out the theft of €120 worth of diesel.

Maughan of 11 Cluain Ard in Killyclug, was also charged with the theft of a blue check shirt worth €19.99 from H&M in Letterkenny Retail Park on March 28th last. The court heard that CCTV footage had shown Maughan enter the shop and place the shirt underneath his top before removing the security tag.

Mr Dillion said that his client, a married man with one child and another on the way, had found it difficult to make ends meet and couldn’t afford clothing, resulting in him stealing the shirt which he then returned to gardaí.

Judge Paul Kelly was told that Maughan had 19 previous convictions which included assault, dangerous driving, trespass, theft and road traffic matters. The court also heard that the defendant had issues with alcohol in the past, made bad choices and kept bad company.

Mr Dillion said his client had brought €150 to court to compensate for the diesel and a cheque for €20 for H&M.

The judge adjourned sentencing until February next and ordered a probation and community service report on Maughan.

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