Two charity collection boxes were stolen from a church in Cork and the man who took them was today sentenced to nine months in prison.
Matthew Ginnifer, aged 25, of St Vincent’s hostel, Anglesea Terrace, who also has a Charleville address, pleaded guilty to the theft from the Society of African Missions church in Wilton.
Sergeant John Kelleher outlined the background to the thefts at Cork District Court.
The sergeant said Ginnifer entered the church and stole two charity collection boxes containing a large amount of coins, the precise value of which was not known.
Sgt Kelleher said the accused was seen on CCTV making his way to the nearby Wilton shopping centre and going to a coin-counting machine where he placed the stolen coins to be exchanged for cash notes. When questioned about the thefts he admitted the offences.
Sgt Kelleher said Ginnifer had 108 previous convictions, including 21 for theft and five for burglary.
Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said Ginnifer had recently pleaded guilty to a number of offences, for which he was given an eight-month jail sentence last month.
Mr Buttimer said the accused man was not appealing this sentence and intended to serve it out.
The solicitor said that even though the accused admitted this crime at the church to gardaí, he wrongly entered a not guilty plea at an earlier stage which meant that the charge could not be taken into consideration in last month’s jail term.
Judge Kelleher measured the sentence at nine months and backdated it to January 26 when Ginnifer first went into custody.