Rubber Bandit: Galway man cons shop assistant into buying out-of-date condoms

Court in Tralee told that Charles Ward’s wife was ‘very cross’ about the whole matter

A Galway man who conned an unsuspecting shop assistant in Killarney into buying "out of date contraceptive devices", which had never been ordered, has been given the Probation Act.

Tralee Circuit Criminal Court ordered the out-of-date condoms to be destroyed.

Father-of-two Charles Ward, (28), of Vicars Choral, Tuam, Co Galway, pleaded guilty to intentionally making a gain by deception and causing a loss to another, contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001.

He admitted he induced, by deception, an assistant in Hegarty’s Shop, Park Road, Killarney into buying “goods” and into handing over €240 cash on August 12th, 2015.


Ward had earlier denied the charge when it came before Killarney District Court earlier this year, and had elected to be sent forward for trial and a book of evidence was prepared.

Sergeant Leo Randles, investigating officer, was called to give evidence by Tom Rice, for the DPP, at the sentencing hearing.

Sgt Randles told how Ward had called to the large supermarket on the Cork Road at around 10.30am on August 12th, 2015 saying he had “certain articles for sale”.

The shop assistant told him to speak to the shop manager Mike Hegarty, who was at the back of the premises. Ward returned and deceived the assistant into believing the manager “had approved the sale,” Mr Rice said.

The assistant accepted the invoice and paid out €240 cash from the till.

“It was a blank invoice. There was no company name on it,” Sgt Randles said.

CCTV footage was used by gardaí to identify the accused. Ten days later, the Galway native was spotted in Killarney and arrested.

Brian McInerney barrister for Mr Ward said his client had two young children and although he had had eight previous convictions these were for minor public order, such as shouting and roaring while drunk, and minor road traffic incidents. “He was trying to make a living to support his family,” the barrister said. “The contraceptive devices were in fact Durex condoms – a very large box,” Mr McInerney said. “This was a very large box. There was no attempt to disguise his identity.”

The court was told that Ward’s wife was “very cross” about the whole matter.

“Difficult conditions were imposed on him on the domestic front because of this,” the barrister said.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell applied the Probation Act “given the circumstances”.