Man pretending to be garda approached teenagers in Cork park asking for personal information

Man pretending to be garda approached teenagers in Cork park asking for personal information

Sergeant Pat Lyons said the boys who were aged around 14 or 15 were at the skateboard park when Coughlan arrived and announced himself as an undercover garda and asked for their names and addresses. Picture: iStock

Young teenagers at the skateboard park in The Mardyke were approached by a man impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána who asked for their names and addresses, what was in their bags and whether they had phones.

Stephen Coughlan who is in his mid-twenties and from Maulbawn, Passage West, County Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork District Court yesterday to the charge of impersonating a garda at 4.30pm on the afternoon of September 13, 2020.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he would imagine that the teenagers got upset about being approached in this way and added, “If I was their age I would have gotten excited too.” 

Judge Kelleher jailed the accused for nine months for the crime.

Sergeant Pat Lyons said the boys who were aged around 14 or 15 were at the skateboard park when Coughlan arrived and announced himself as an undercover garda and asked for their names and addresses. He also asked what they had in their bags and what type of phones they had.

An adult who was passing by at the time became suspicious of the approach being made by the accused and he asked Coughlan for his garda ID. He replied that he did not have to present his ID. However, he then ran from the scene.

The teenagers reported to gardaí about the approach made by the stranger and gave a full description of him. On the basis of this description, the defendant was identified in Cork city. He was questioned at the Bridewell garda station and he admitted the offence.

He said that he was trying to get money for drugs at the time.

The accused had 211 previous convictions, including 54 for theft.

Eddie Burke, solicitor, said the accused did have a conversation with the teenagers but there was nothing of a threatening nature.

Judge Kelleher said it was threatening enough for the defendant to approach the teenagers and say that he was a garda when he was not.

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