A 29-YEAR-OLD man who stole around £700 of equipment from a Derrylin car wash over a year ago was caught by police after his DNA was found at the crime scene, Fermanagh Magistrates Court has heard.

Bernard McDonagh, of Drumawill Gardens, Enniskillen, was charged with stealing tyres, alloy wheels, a socket set, battery charger, spray gun and cash from Mountain Car Wash, Derrylin on February 28, 2015.

McDonagh had entered a guilty plea to the burglary charge at an earlier appearance in court, but sentencing had been adjourned to see if he could complete a community service order imposed in the Republic of Ireland in connection with an unrelated matter.

At his sentencing on Monday, the court heard that assorted car accessories to the total value of in and around £700 had been taken in the burglary at the Mountain car wash.

Forensic tests were carried out on a swab of blood found on a TV stand at the scene. They revealed that the blood sample contained DNA matching that of the defendant, the court heard.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and interviewed by police. He could give no account of why his DNA was found at the scene and answered “no comment” to all questions.

The stolen items were never recovered, the prosecutor told the court.

Defending solicitor, Myles McManus, told the court that his client had a “significant” criminal record in the Republic of Ireland, but no record north of the border.

The solicitor said McDonagh had been engaging with the authorities in the Republic of Ireland, completing his community service in May.

Urging the judge to give him credit for his guilty plea, Mr McManus said the defendant had instructed him to apologise on his behalf.

After district judge Nigel Broderick asked what McDonagh had done with the items he had stolen, the solicitor replied that he was willing to make restitution.

Given the defendant’s “limited income”, Mr McManus suggested that he pay back around £100 per month until the amount due was cleared.

The judge observed that he had been minded to impose an immediate custodial sentence on the defendant and the only thing that prevented him from doing so was the community service in the Republic of Ireland.

After receiving confirmation that McDonagh had completed his hours, Mr Broderick said, “not without some hesitation”, that he would impose a five-month jail term, which he then suspended for 12 months.

The judge also ordered the defendant to pay a compensation order of £700.