« BackRingleader behind burglaries sentenced to nine years

Tralee courthouse2The ringleader of a gang that carried out a series of burglaries on homes while the occupiers were away has been sentenced to nine years.

Batty Coffey of 55 Gallowsfield, Tralee and formerly of Castleisland pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one of theft at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on November 11th.

The offences were committed while the father-of-five was on bail.

Mr Coffey has 100 previous convictions.

Batty Coffey admitted burglary at Mileen, Kilcummin and at Scart Cross, Farranfore on July 5th last and pleaded guilty to theft at Cappamore, Kells on the same day.

Tralee Circuit Court heard Mr Coffey entered a house at Mileen, Kilcummin while the owners were attending the Munster Football Final. The house was ransacked and money was taken.

A house at Scart Cross, Farranfore was burgled while the occupants were away and jewellery including copper, were taken.

Detective Garda James Daly said gardai obtained a search warrant for 55 Gallowsfield, Tralee where they recovered nearly €20,000.

Gardai recovered €37,500 of stolen cash – a remaining €32,500 has never been found.

He said the accused had not acted alone and was believed to be the ring leader.

Brian McInerney defending, said Mr Coffey had a significant drug problem and committed crime to fund a chronic addition and that he’d made an early admission.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said the ‘planned, premeditated escapade’ resulted in the ‘violation of the victims’ homes’.

He imposed two four-year prison sentences, suspending the last 12 months, for each of the burglary charges, and a further 12 months for theft.

The sentences will begin immediately following the completion of the sentence Batty Coffey is currently serving.

He’s also bound to the peace for three years.