Gardaí finds stolen motorcycles from a man

A 56-year-old man has pleaded guilty in Sligo Circuit Court to handling stolen motorbikes from his home in Ballisodare.

illiam Jack Conway of Streamstown, Ballisodare has admitted handling a stolen Yamaha motorbike from his home on June 20, 2018 with a Kango drill and power pack.

He further pleaded guilty to stealing an Orion children’s motorcycle on September 22, 2020.

The court heard that Conway was under pressure to store the items at his property.

The defendant faced three further counts of manipulation, but the prosecutor, Mr Leo Mulrooney BL, said a nolle prosequi would be entered on those charges in due course.

Garda Dermot Fearon, led by Mr Mulrooney, explained how on May 11, 2018 the drill and power supply were discovered stolen by its owner when he drove to a shed on his property in Aughamore, Carraroe .

He believed the burglary had taken place the previous night as he had worked there until about 7 p.m. A number of items had been stolen, including the Kango drill and power supply.

The Yamaha motorbike with a 1999 KE registration was reported stolen from a shed on a farm in Ballintogher on May 21, 2018 while the children’s mini motorbike, worth €200, was taken on September 10, 2020 in a portacabin at Aughamore.

Gardaí found this bike on September 22, 2020 in Conway’s back garden but it was burned.

The Yamaha and the drill were found at his home on June 20, 2018 after Gardaí obtained a search warrant.

This was performed by Garda Sandra Deery.

Conway has lived in Streamstown with his partner since 2005 and worked part-time as a courier.

When questioned by Gardaí, he said that the Yamaha motorbike had been bought by him for €500 from a Pole and that he had had it for several years.

There were no license plates on the bike, and Conway said it had been stored in a container on his property for three to four years. He said the drill had been in the container for several weeks.

He said “the boys” would visit his premises regularly. These people were using his container where he had stored a ladder. He didn’t take into account anything else in it.

When asked about the children’s burnt-out motorbike later, he said he hadn’t noticed it.

Conway has had ten prior convictions as of June 2011, including traffic violations, theft, animal cruelty, drug possession.

He was out on bail when he committed the offense of tampering with the children’s motorbike.

In response to Mr. Joe Barnes BL, instructed by Mr. Mark Mullaney, Solicitor (Defendant), Garda Fearon agreed that Conway was not a criminal mastermind.

The Garda also agreed that Conway would have been under pressure if he named “the boys”, younger men who called him daily.

Mr Barnes said Conway has since dissociated himself from them and these young men no longer call him.

The defendant had €200 in court to hand over to the owner of the children’s bicycle.

Mr Barnes pleaded that Conway appeared to be under some influence from these young men who called his home.

“It is somewhat odd in his profile that over the last decade he has racked up these convictions,” Mr Barnes said.

He expressed the hope that the court would agree to adjourn the case under any conditions for the preparation of a probationary report.

“He’s a man with an unusual profile and a little vulnerable,” he pleaded, adding that Conway was naive and not a criminal mastermind.

“I ask the court to be as lenient as possible,” he said.

Judge Francis Comerford said the defendant accepted property from people he must have known had stolen it and then subsequently lied to Gardaí.

He was also out on bail when he committed another offense by receiving the children’s motorbike set on fire on his property.

He would have been in a better position if he had turned his back, but this new commission of offenses made the matter more serious.

The judge, however, said he thought it appropriate to see if there was another alternative to prison.

The case was adjourned to April 5 for the preparation of a probation report.

“I am not indicating that there will be a non-custodial sentence,” he said, adding that he was at risk.

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