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Cash-for-gold shops should be shut – judge

Close Cash-for-Gold shops - Judge Seamus Hughes

Anton McNulty

Cash-for-Gold shops often facilitate in the commission of crime and should be closed down according to a District Court Judge who says they don’t ask any question on where the ornaments offered originate.
Westport native Judge Seamus Hughes made his comments after a heroin addict was offered €90 by a cash-for-gold salesperson in Mullingar for two stolen rings worth €650 while under the influence of heroin at the shop.
The addict, Sharon Clarke (29) of Market Square, Longford had stolen goods worth €3,750 from a house she broke into while the owner was away. The items included a gold and diamond encrusted ring, a black-stoned ring and an engagement ring which was never recovered.
She was caught by gardaí trying to sell the rings in the cash-for-gold shop in Mullingar and this prompted Judge Hughes to call for such premises to be regulated. He noted that the woman ‘doesn’t have the trappings of affluence’ and asked ‘what does that say for the cash for gold shop on Dominick Street, Mullingar?’.
Judge Hughes said the salesperson was happy to negotiate with her despite her obvious state and described his conduct as an ‘absolute disgrace’. He said he had facilitated the commission of a crime and had used the opportunity for ‘lining his own pockets’.
Judge Hughes sentenced Ms Clarke to two nine month consecutive sentences but in doing so he said that the offences would not have been committed if she had not been released four months into a 12 month sentence for theft. He laid the blame for the current theft at the door of the Governor of the Dochas Centre in Mountjoy or the Director of the Prison Service for releasing her early.
“By the time she gets to prison, her sentence will be changed by someone who doesn’t operate in a public forum as I operate in a public forum. If given nine months she could be out in two or three weeks,” he said adding that ‘the sooner that changes the sooner society will be protected’.

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