Man convicted of robbing Donegal head shop

A mother who revealed today(Wed) that her son was put out of home because he used head-shop “highs” before they became illegal was praised for her honesty by a judge.

Her teenage son was so desperate for highs that he broke into a head-shop in his home town and stole €15,000 goods from it, Donegal District Court heard.

Donegal town native Richard Burke, 19, admitted breaking into the Yutopia shop in the centre of the town last December 11.

Gda Elaine Kelly told the court that €15,000 of “legal highs” and other paraphernalia and materials were stolen. Three-quarters of the stolen property was recovered and the rest was consumed or was given away.

Burke’s mother, Annemarie, a psychiatric nurse, told Judge Kevin Kilrane that about  18 months ago the family noticed “a huge change” with her son. He became a totally different character and his behaviour became “unbearable”.

He was asked to leave the house and he moved in with other people and didn’t return to the family.

One day, after his arrest, he asked his father for help and he was admitted to a drugs care centre and was now ready to return to college.

Mrs Burke told Judge Kilrane that as a result of the head-shop products her son currently had quite a short-term memory.

The judge spoke about how impressed he was by Mrs Burke’s evidence.

He said he was adjourning the case until December and wasn’t even asking for a probation report. He was prepared to rely on the youth’s mother’s continuous honesty how he was behaving at home.

Most head-shop “highs” were legal at the time of the break-in offence but the government since introduced regulations banning a number of synthetic or herbal substances that mimic the effect of illegal drugs because of the ongoing health risks associated with them.