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Man jailed for handling stolen vehicles after arranging to meet undercover guard to sell jet ski

The man was connected to stolen vehicles by means of fingerprint evidence.

Image: RollingNews.ie

A MAN WHO had arranged to sell a stolen jet ski to an undercover garda has been sentenced to two and half years in prison for handling stolen vehicles.

Gardaí had arranged to buy a stolen jet ski listed for sale on Adverts.ie in order to investigate a series of car thefts, when Denis Kaczor Niecko (30) arrived to sell it.

When Niecko realised that it was a garda who had come to buy the jet ski, he fled the scene in a van but crashed 200 metres up the road. He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling a stolen Audi A3 at Balscadden, Co Dublin on dates between February 9 and 22, 2017.

Niecko, a father-of-three from Westbrook Avenue, Balbriggan, Dublin further admitted to handling a stolen Nissan Juke at Parkview Green, Poppintree, Dublin 11 on dates between April 19 and May 11, 2017.

Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case having previously heard evidence in February pending the preparation of both a psychological and probation report.

Today, Judge Greally suspended the final 12 months of the sentence on strict conditions having taken into account a report from the Probation Service which indicated a willingness to work with Niecko on his ultimate release from prison.

The judge acknowledged that although Niecko had raised €2,000 in compensation for the owner of the vehicles, both refused to take the money. She ordered that the money be given to the McVerry Trust.

Judge Greally accepted that Niecko admitted that he was “the custodian of the vehicles and effectively minding them until people further up the hierarchy requested them for sale”.

She said she was taking into account “a large amount of material” submitted on Niecko’s behalf including the psychological report and the report from the Probation Service.

The judge also accepted that he had written a letter to the court “expressing his remorse for his actions” and that he was “applying his time well while in prison”.

At the February court hearing Sergeant Colm McElligot told Ger Small BL, prosecuting, that gardaí investigating car thefts arranged to buy a stolen jet ski from a seller on Adverts.ie in February 2017.

A different sergeant organised a meeting at Balscadden to view the jet ski with a man who turned out to be Niecko.

When the sergeant arrived and identified himself, Niecko jumped into his transit van and sped off but crashed into a car 200 metres up the road.

He was arrested and gardaí found the car key to a stolen Audi A3 in the glove box. The Audi, which had been stolen the week before, was located at the scene shortly afterwards.

It had been fitted with false registration plates. Tax and NCT discs and an NCT certificate were found in the car, all corresponding to the false registration.

In May 2017, gardaí recovered a Nissan Juke car at Poppintree which had been stolen the previous month. It had also been fitted with false registration plates, false tax and NCT discs and a false NCT certificate.

Niecko was connected to both cars by means of fingerprint evidence.

The court heard he is a Polish national who has lived in Ireland for about ten years with his wife and three children. He has 23 previous convictions including handling and possessing stolen property and theft. He has also accumulated convictions for theft in Germany and Poland.

Sgt McElligot agreed with Thomas Horan BL, defending, that both the stolen cars had been returned to their owners.

He further agreed that nothing in the evidence suggested that Niecko had been involved in stealing any cars.

Mr Horan said his client had had a very good work record as a kitchen porter until an allegation at his work cost him his job.

He complained to his company; the allegation was proven to be unfounded and he was compensated. However. his life took a downward spiral and he started to have problems with alcohol.

The court heard Niecko suffered from mental health difficulties including suicide ideation, self-harm and anxiety.

Mr Horan said Niecko was a deeply religious man and presented a letter from his local church and one from himself in which he apologised unreservedly to his victims.

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Jessica Magee

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