A man already banned from motoring for 99 years for death-driving stole two cars, and stripped them and fitted their engines and interiors inside different car-shells, Donegal District Court heard yesterday.
The illegal practice is often referred to in the motor industry as ‘cut and shut’.
Derek Robinson, who has a string of convictions since dangerous driving causing death in 2006, admitted stealing two Toyota twin-cam cars worth a total €16,000 in separate villages in Co. Donegal.
He also admitted being in possession of a stolen pub charity jar with €400.
Detective Paul McHugh said there was a comprehensive Garda inquiry into the car thefts in Dunkineely and Ballintra in May and July, 2009.
One car was located at 28-year-old Robinson’s home at Lismulladuff, Killygordon and the second, with its shell cut in half, was located in Ballybofey.
Both vehicles were stripped completely and, with the use of a third car-body shell, interiors and engines were inter-changed and a false registration plate was attached to one vehicle.
Detective McHugh said: “The defendant and another person admitted their part in these crimes.”
The court heard that the owner of one of the cars, Cartha Boyle of Glenties, had been compensated but no compensation reached the owner of the other car, Noel Adair of Bruckless.
Mr Adair told the court: “Whoever took my car knew exactly what they were doing.”
Judge Kevin Kilrane also heard that, separately, a charity jar with €400 disappeared from Eileen McGuire’s bar in Dunkineely, in October, 2010.
Defence solicitor Paudge Dorrian said when the pub charity jar and cash were discovered in a car being driven by Robinson he was unaware of its presence in the vehicle. Mr Dorrian said: “He never took any money and didn’t receive any of it.”
Judge Kilrane was told of a string of convictions against jobless Robinson, father of a four-year-old child.
At Letterkenny Circuit he was jailed for two years and banned from driving for 99 years for dangerous driving causing death in 2006.
He was currently serving an eight-month sentence, due to expire in August.
The judge described Robinson as “an habitual offender.” He sentenced him to a total of 12 months, to start when his current prison term ends in August. He also banned him from driving for 20 years.
Another man, Gerard O’Brien, 21, of Meenlaghat, The Cross, Killygordon, who pleaded guilty to theft of the two cars, was remanded on bail to May 4th for a hearing of the case against him and for sentence at Donegal Court.