SOME teenagers in Ennis are being forced to commit crimes to pay off debts to a ‘Fagin’ type figure in the town.
The man was referred to during a sitting of Ennis District Court on Friday where a 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, trespass and the unauthorised taking of a vehicle.
His solicitor, John Casey, said there had been an element of force attached to the crimes.
He explained that a situation might arise whereby the man would offer to lend a young person money.
Mr Casey said, “You might never pay this back but he might say to you to do this or do that.”
“A vulnerable young man like this can never get out of it. His mother is genuinely disturbed by all of this.” he added.
The man, whom the court heard is known to gardaí, was compared at a previous court sitting to ‘Fagin’, the criminal mastermind from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
The court heard that the boy has now moved out of Ennis to a rural part of West Clare.
He has also removed the SIM card from his mobile phone so he could not be contacted by people in Ennis.
Addressing the court the teenager said; “Since I left the court the last day, I’ve done everything the court asked me to do.” Judge Patrick Durcan adjourned the case until May.
Separately a different 17-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to multiple charges of theft and burglary at premises in Ennis and Kilfenora.
At Ennis District Court on Friday the boy pleaded guilty to handling a stolen Samsung Galaxy phone on Newbridge Road on October 31; handling a stolen Samsung phone in Considine’s Road, Cloughleigh, Ennis on January 20 (2013).
He also pleaded guilty to stealing a mobile phone on Watery Road, Ennis on February 4; theft of a black Apple iPod from Old Gort Road on February 8 and stealing a Nintendo DS and camcorder from Hermitage, Ennis on dates unknown between December 30 and 31.
He also pleaded guilty to entering Ennis Rugby Club as trespasser to commit the theft of a 32 inch television on dates unknown between December 1 and 25.
Also listed was theft of a Playstation at Doctor’s Hill, Kilfenora on dates unknown between December 25 and 27; entering 66 Westwood, Ennis as a trespasser to commit the theft of jewelry worth €300 and a mobile phone on dates unknown between December 25 and 26; entering 8 Showgrounds View, Ennis, as a trespasser to commit theft of a Samsung TV, laptop computer and Playstation on dates unknown between December 26 and 27.
Judge Patrick Durcan said he was very concerned about the teenager. He sought a pre-sentence report from the Probation Services. The case was adjourned until April 17.