A burglar in a high-vis jacket who claimed to be a garda when confronted by a home owner was sentenced to three and half years in prison yesterday.

The Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court heard that 44-year old Martin Conroy  with an address c/o Castlerea Prison, fled the scene but was later found by Gardai, hiding in a dog kennel at the rear of a nearby house.

Garda Noelle Doherty told the court that on December 12, 2016, a 72-year-old man discovered the accused in the front room of his house at Chestnut Grove, Castlebar.

When challenged, Martin Conroy told the injured party he was a member of An Garda Siochána before fleeing the scene chased by his victim.

Gardaí later discovered the accused hiding in a dog kennel at the rear of his house and arrested him.

The court was told that Mr Conroy, who has previous convictions for burglary, made full admissions when interviewed by Gardaí.

Judge Séan O'Donnabhaín said it was a a serious aggravating factor in the case that an elderly man had been confronted in his own home by a man in a high-vis jacket.

The judge added that Mr Conroy has a 'considerable' history in crime and noted his 'poor record' as regards co-operation with the probation service.

On the burglary charge, Martin Conroy was sentenced to five years in prisonm with the final 18 months suspended on condition that on release he attends a treatment centre for alcohol addiction.

A second charge – impersonating a garda – was taken into consideration.

The prison term was backdated to January 17 last when he was first taken into custody.




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