Man jailed after trying to rob shop with fake gun while gardaí inside

Officers in rear of Ballymun premises viewing CCTV at time of attempted robbery

Patrick Dunne, of Santry Lodge, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing the Centra shop on Coultry Road in Ballymun on September 12th last. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Patrick Dunne, of Santry Lodge, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing the Centra shop on Coultry Road in Ballymun on September 12th last. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

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An armed robber who held up a shop while two gardaí were in the back checking CCTV footage has been jailed.

Patrick Dunne (30) brandished an imitation firearm at a shop assistant before being chased out of the shop by gardaí.

Dunne, of Santry Lodge, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing the Centra shop on Coultry Road in Ballymun on September 12th last.

He has 93 previous convictions, including theft, burglary and criminal damage and the court heard he was a drug addict.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a 4½-year sentence on Dunne, saying he had terrified customers when he produced a “convincing imitation” firearm to rob the shop.

Det Ronan Darcy told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that Dunne entered the shop in a black jacket with his hood up at about 8pm. He waited in line with his hand in his jacket until he got to the till before pointing the fake firearm at a shop assistant, the court heard.

Dunne demanded that the cashier open the till, handing him a blue plastic bag to fill with cash. The cashier had difficulty at first opening the cash register and Dunne said: “This is your last chance or I’ll shoot you.”

The shop assistant finally managed to open the till and Dunne told him he wanted “everything”. The shop assistant put €880 into the bag.

Imitation firearm

During the robbery the backdoor of the shop opened and gardaí­ arrived in, the court heard. Det Darcy said he and a colleague had “coincidentally” been studying footage in the rear of the shop in relation to another investigation before becoming aware that a robbery was occurring.

Det Darcy drew his firearm and called out “armed gardaí­” but Dunne failed to drop his weapon and ran out of the shop. The gardaí­ chased him down and arrested him. The imitation firearm was later discovered in a garden on Coultry Crescent.

Fiona Murphy BL, defending, said her client had been caught “red-handed” and carried out the robbery as he owed an €800 debt at the time.

She said he offered a full apology for what he did and had entered a guilty plea at the earliest stage.

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