Suspended sentence for man who stole digger and ‘took off at speed of two miles an hour’

Court hears €25,000 digger was stolen from Irish Water by Fergal Gannon, of Ferefad Lower, Longford

A man who stole a digger and tried to hide it in his own back garden has received a suspended prison sentence and 240 hours of community service following an appearance at Longford Circuit Court this afternoon.

Fergal Gannon, with an address at Ferefad Lower, Longford, Co Longford, was arrested shortly after 10.30pm on January 18th, 2021, and charged with the theft, which had been reported to gardaí earlier that morning.

The 2007 New Holland Kobelco digger, worth €25,000, was parked up for the weekend at Lower Ferefad, and was being used to carry out works by Irish Water the previous week.

The vehicle was discovered by gardaí at the back of Gannon’s property, approximately 1.5km away from where it had been stolen.


Back garden

It was heard in court before Judge Kenneth Connolly this afternoon that the digger was stolen by Gannon, who “took off at a speed of two miles an hour and brought it into his back garden”.

In January of this year, Judge Keenan Johnson heard the evidence and said he would hand down a suspended sentence should Gannon pay €1,500 to the Irish Wheelchair Association by the October sittings of Longford Circuit Court.

Gannon arrived in court on Tuesday with just €1,150 of that sum, stating he was due to receive compensation as the victim of another case to appear in court this month.

Judge Connolly, finalising the matter, handed down a two-year prison sentence, which he suspended for five years on the condition Gannon enter into a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for those five years.

“That means you must not commit any offence within the next five years or you will be brought before this court – hopefully before myself – and you will be locked up for two years,” he said.

Gannan has also been sentenced to 240 hours of community service and has been ordered to pay the €1,150 to the court to be passed on to the IWA.