Catering manager admits stealing supplies at Croke Park
A catering manager at Croke Park has avoided jail today after he stole €15,000 worth of food and drink from his employers.
Paul Leeson was given a three-year suspended sentence after he admitted stealing the supplies, including food, soft drinks and alcohol, during the 2009 GAA Championship season.
He told gardaí that he sold the goods on to get money to support his alcohol habit and also to pay for bringing his five children to England to watch a Premiership match.
Leeson (aged 46) of St Killian’s Park, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing €15,000 worth of supplies from Fitzers Catering Services at Croke Park between January 1, 2009 and October 31, 2009.
Judge Patricia Ryan handed him a three-year suspended sentence, on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years.
Leeson paid over the sum of €1,900 in court by way of partial compensation for his employers, which he had collected by putting aside €50 a week.
Garda Ian Bruton told prosecuting counsel Garnet Orange BL that a complaint of missing stock had been made by Barry Storey, head of Fitzers Catering.
Leeson admitted to Mr Storey during a meeting that he stole the stock and offered his resignation as catering manager.
Leeson was arrested by gardaí and admitted he had realised he could take the stock without anyone noticing and sell it onto others as he had easy access to the store rooms.
Leeson, who has two minor road traffic convictions, always knew he was going to get caught, according to defence counsel Cathal McGreal BL.
“It started out as pilfering but it got out of control as he had a drink problem and stealing the items was the result of this problem,” said counsel.
“He co-operated with his employer and gardaí from the outset and offered his letter of resignation immediately upon being caught.”
“He was by no means flashy with the money he got from selling on the products he stole but he did bring his children to a soccer match to the UK and drank the rest.”
Judge Ryan said Leeson had been given a long time to compensate Fitzers Catering Services but that it was now time to finalise the matter.
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