Stole from Trocaire box to clear a debt

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A man who stole £200 from a charity collection box in St. Brigid’s Chapel, Carnhill, to “clear a debt” during a one month burglary spree in late 2012 will be sentenced at Derry Crown Court on Monday.

Bernard Cooke, 21, of Lettershandoney Avenue appeared yesterday for sentencing in relation to ten different burglary offences committed between November 2012 and the end of December 2012.

The court was told Cooke, who has been assessed as being at a high risk of reoffending, was on bail in relation to other matters at the time of the offence.

Three of Cooke’s targets during his crime spree were local chapels, including St. Brigid’s where a Trocaire collection amounting to around £200 was stolen from the oratory.

Cooke also admitted breaking into St. Patrick’s, Pennyburn on December 4 and St. Mary’s Ardmore Parochial House on November 12.

Derry Crown Court also heard that Cooke had pleaded guilty to seven charges relating to domestic burglaries late last year.

These include the burglary of three houses in the Hampstead Park area on the afternoon of December 19. On each occasion the householders returned home in the early evening to find their properties ransacked.

However Cooke only stole items from one of these properties. Other burglaries took place at Meenaleck Court, Carnhill and Bradley Park.

Sentencing on all matters will take place at Derry Crown Court on Monday morning following mitigation from Cooke’s defence team.