A man who stole copper boilers and piping from a student campus was caught after Gardai found a receipt in his name in a rented van used for the stolen haul.
Noel Ferry appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal charged with burglary and criminal damage of the building on February 22nd, 2012.
Ferry, 52, and two other men entered the disused student village at Port Road in Letterkenny and ripped out the boilers and piping.
They flooded the entire building and between the thefts and the damage, an estimate of €55,000 was put on the cost of the robbery.
Gardai told the court that they got a call that a male was seen acting suspiciously at the student accommodation at Port Road in Letterkenny around 10.45pm.
When they arrived they were told that a security man had come across a rigid Mercedes truck on the site and that a man had fled from the truck.
They entered the building and fund extensive water damage and copper cylinders and piping missing from various apartments.
When they search the truck they found a receipt for the rental of the truck in the name of Noel Ferry.
When Mr Ferry was arrested he admitted his part in the robbery and two other men were later arrested in connection with the robbery also.
Mr Ferry’s barrister, Mr John Berry, told the court that his client was under financial stress and this was a plan that wad hatched in the pub over a few beers.
Since this incident, Mr Ferry, of Letterkenny, has no convictions and was now working in construction in London and supporting his family back in Donegal.
He added that his client had €10,000 in court to offer as compensation for his part in the robbery.
Mr Berry added that his client should be treated in the same manner as the other two accused in the case who had previously been given community service orders by Judge John O’Hagan.
Brendan Dunleavy, aged 28 of Ballymacool, Letterkenny and Darren Doherty, aged 31, of Kirkstown, Letterkenny both received 240 hours community service in June 2017 of their part in the raid.
Judge John Aylmer agreed and ordered him to complete 240 hours community service in lieu of three and a half years in prison.
He also ordered the €10,000 to be paid to the injured party.