A WEST Cork farmer’s determination to find his stolen jacket ended up with a 44-year-old Dutch tourist appearing in court charged with the theft of it, after the farmer tracked him down to a pub in Bantry the following day.
Jolle Sietsma of Filurskiweq, Bergen, The Netherlands, appeared at Bandon District Court last Thursday and pleaded guilty to stealing a man’s black coat, worth €80, and belonging to Francis Hayes at O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty the previous Tuesday night.
Insp Brian Murphy told the court that due to State’s concerns they made some enquiries about the defendant with Interpol but it later proved that he had no previous convictions.
Outlining the facts of the case, Insp Murphy said that on May 2nd Francis Hayes went to Bantry Garda Station and made a complaint that his jacket had been stolen the previous night in Clonakilty.
‘He had reported the incident to Clonakilty gardaí and CCTV from O’Donovan’s was checked and the suspect was seen leaving the scene on a bike,’ said Insp Murphy.
‘Mr Hayes had received information that the suspect was cycling around West Cork on holidays and decided to come to Bantry to search for him. He told gardaí that he saw two bikes outside The Snug Bar and when he went into bar he saw the jacket, which had been stolen, hanging on the wall and the two Dutchmen inside.’
Gda Gary Coakley of Bantry Garda Station later met the defendant in the pub, who denied taking the jacket from O’Donovan’s Hotel the previous night.
‘Gda Coakley arrested him for the offence of handling stolen property and when the defendant was interviewed later, he admitted the theft.’
Judge Mary Dorgan said ‘it was a mean thing to do’ but the man was lucky he got his jacket back.
Solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said his client wasn’t thinking on this occasion, and after getting drenched on Tuesday, he and his friend went to the pub to get dry and ‘he drank and drank, and in the height of drink he took the coat and went on his way in a drunken stupidity.’
‘He’s embarrassed and annoyed and apologises for being here. He’s never been in situation like this before and he hasn’t tried to hide it and he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity,’ said Mr Taaffe.
‘He has €250 here in court and I told him to offer to make a contribution to the court poor box and he referred to it as ‘learning money’.
Judge Dorgan said that drink and the weather was no excuse and as well as being directed to pay €250 to the court’s poor box she also bound the defendant to the peace for six months with a bond of €100 with no cash required. Insp Murphy added that the injured party got his coat back too.