Caravan thief will pay the penalty if he does not pay compo

April 21, 2022

A man who stole a 27 foot caravan and towed it from Donegal to Monaghan has been warned he will have to pay the penalty if he does not compensate his victim.

Stephen Ward, aged 22, stole the Hobby 570 caravan from the property of George Gilmore, at Ballyness, Falcarragh on September 7, 2019.

Ward was nabbed after Garda viewed CCTV and tracked the caravan along a route of over 160kms, before finding it in Castleblayney, County Monaghan.

His solicitor, Mr Rory O’Brien, had said Ward and his wife had planned to live in the caravan.

He said his client had been told the caravan had been abandoned in County Donegal as the owner had passed away.

Mr O’Brien said this was not an excuse but this is what Ward told the Gardai when they arrived at his door.

He said Ward admitted being at the scene but was not driving the vehicle which towed away the caravan.

Ward, a father-of-one, was told last December that he would have to pay €4,471 for damage or property lost following the theft.

The accused had apologised for stealing the caravan and knew what it was like to be homeless as he had been homeless before, his solicitor said.

But Judge Deirdre Gearty told Falcarragh Court “The day for negotiation is gone as far as I’m concerned. It’s not a bidding situation.”

The court was told that Ward, of Ballybay, Co Monaghan, had now paid €1,245 in compensation and that still left a figure of €2,955 t be paid.

Ward’s solicitor said he did not have any more money in court from the accused at present.

Judge Gearty said the reality was that the court had made “a very clear order” and the case could not be revisited.

She warned  that if the remainder of the compensation cannot be paid then the penalties can come into effect.

She also suggested that the victim come into court or make a victim impact statement to Gardai about his loss or damage to the caravan which was valued at €9,200 before it was stolen.

The case was adjourned.