Burglar caught after CCTV showed him getting haircut in barber's next to house he broke into

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A burglar was left red faced after he was caught on CCTV having a haircut in a barber's next door to the house he then broke into.

The man was jailed for 17 months, with Judge Karen O'Connor saying she considered the crime very serious as he had violated a family home where a mother and her twins were taking a nap.

Matthew Ahern, 53, of St Brigid's Court in Raheny, north Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Collins Avenue East, Killester, on February 17, 2016.

He has 48 previous convictions including seven for burglary, dating back as far as 1982.

At an earlier hearing Garda Laura Nulty said that the homeowner was asleep in a bedroom after putting her children down for a nap at 2:30pm.

She heard rustling noises and thought her husband was in the room, but then saw Ahern taking her iPad and laptop from a bedroom dresser, the court heard.

The woman grabbed them back and Ahern then took two mobile phones before leaving the house.

CCTV recovered from a barber's next door showed Ahern having a hair cut immediately prior to the break-in and he was arrested, according to Garda Nulty.

She agreed with Seoirse O'Dunlaing BL, defending, that although it was traumatic for the woman to find an unknown male in her home, he had no implements on him and it had been a “smash and grab”.

Mr O'Dunlaing said his client wasn't asking the court to listen to a cock-and-bull story, and said Ahern hadn't come to garda attention since this offence.

In sentencing, Judge O'Connor noted that Ahern had made a huge effort regarding his methadone maintenance programme. She gave him credit for his guilty plea, and for changing his chaotic lifestyle.

However, she said a mother's home and her sense of safety were violated and property was stolen, and sentenced Ahern to three years imprisonment with the final 19 months suspended.

She said prison may be difficult for Ahern as he had been ill in the past and was older than most of the prison population.

Judge O'Connor advised Ahern to use the suspended portion of his sentence as a focus, to keep him out of trouble while in custody.

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