A property manager, who stole number plates from cars parked in estates his company manages in a bizarre intimidation effort, has dodged losing his management licence after he paid €5k compensation.

Nicky Carvin, 50, who runs Carvin Property Management in north Dublin, was found guilty by Judge Miriam Walsh of two counts of theft of vehicle registration plates and criminal damage to a pub’s Heineken sign after he denied the charges. Judge Walsh said at Swords District Court that Carvin, who has two previous convictions, “took things into his own hands and shouldn’t have acted in the way he did.”

His defence counsel said “At the time he was stuck between a rock and a hard place and knows he was wrong. He believed at the time he was doing right as he was under pressure from the directors of the management company.”

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Carvin’s counsel pleaded with the judge not to convict the 50-year-old as “any conviction would see him lose his [property management] licence and livelihood of 15 years.” Counsel said Carvin, of Castleview Road in Swords, Co Dublin had €3,500 in compensation which the judge directed and asked the judge to consider the Probation Act.

“He is willing to pay extra on top of what the court ordered,” the solicitor said, adding he can come up with a total of €5k. "I am hearing what counsel said if he is convicted he will lose his job. I don’t think anything is gained from convicting him," the judge said and ordered the €5k compensation be paid to the victims before applying the Probation Act.

The court heard Carvin stole a registration plate from a vehicle in Prospect estate in Balbriggan, Co Dublin on August 14, 2018 and another from a vehicle in Castlemills estate, Balbriggan between 8-17 September 2018. He claimed the two vehicles were abandoned in the estates - despite the owners being residents there.

During the hearing of the case at Swords District Court this month, complaints were made to Balbriggan Garda Station in October 2018 where it was established that one victim, Carlos Soars had registration plates taken off his vehicle on an ongoing basis over a number of weeks. Mr Soars’ niece caught and filmed Carvin on August 14, 2018 removing the registration plate off his vehicle. Between September 8 and September 17, 2018 another victim, Aoife McMahon had the registration plates removed from her vehicle in the Castlemills apartment complex. Her vehicle was parked in the parking space that was assigned to her on purchasing the apartment and included in her purchase of her property at a fee.

The court heard numerous complaints were made to Carvin Property Management and she was informed she had not lodged details of the car with them - despite lodging the details in 2017. Carvin claimed he didn’t keep a record for previous years and informed her she must lodge the details yearly. He refused to return the registration plates until the end of October 2018 when he was instructed to do so by Leslie Cortes, director of Castlemills complex. Because the registration plates were not returned for six weeks it made Ms McMahon’s vehicle unroadworthy and not usable that period, the court heard.

During the hearing, Carvin denied it was him who removed Ms McMahon’s registration plate and blamed another person. However Judge Walsh pointed out that his memo of interview had been read into the court record where Carvin said in his garda interview that it was him and another man.

Carvin claimed he didn’t know who Mr Soars vehicle belonged to and believed it to be abandoned. He said he didn’t know who his niece was when she approached him and that he didn’t believe her. However, Judge Walsh then directed him to a video in which he points to Mr Soars’ niece’s house.

In relation to the criminal damage to the Heineken sign outside Hamlet Bar in Castlemills, which was erected with permission from the owners of the complex and directors of Castlemill, Carvin told the bar owner to remove the sign. However, the bar owner refused to. The lighted sign was connected to outside lights on a timer so as not to cause a nuisance to residents. However, the court heard there were a number of disputes over the sign between Carvin and the pub owner for a number of weeks. While erecting Christmas lights at the front of the bar on November 11, 2018, Carvin was captured on CCTV shown in court climbing onto the ledge beside the Heineken sign. CCTV showed Carvin going out of sight and the light on the sign was extinguished.

CCTV showed Carvin throwing a cable off the roof and returned to the front to continue erecting the Christmas lights. The owner of the bar located and identified the cable as the electrical cable for the sign. The damage caused was €200. However, the court heard the outside lights and fuse boards blew costing €1,300 to fix the electronics.

When questioned about conducting his behaviour in line with legislation to employ towing contractors or clampers, Carvin said it would increase costs on residents so he did it his way.

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