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‘Highly experienced’ thief who stole £1,200 trailer while owner on holiday has 80 previous convictions

The district judge said: "Incidents of rural crime are far too high in this jurisdiction'

Armagh Magistrates Court

A man who stole a trailer valued at £1,200 from outside a Co Armagh property has been ordered to bring the money to the court or face the possibility of prison.

The district judge commented: “This court takes very seriously theft from agricultural and farming land. Incidents of rural crime are far too high in this jurisdiction.”

Martin Gerard Maughan, 45, of Ross Rise, Belfast, pleaded guilty to theft at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare commented: “His record is relevant and this would be one which requires a report.”

It was heard that the offence dated back to January 11, 2018, when the defendant stole a trailer valued at around £1,200.

Prosecution stated: “The trailer owner had been on holiday. He did not know it had been stolen until a number of days after he returned.

“It was taken from outside his property on the Portadown Road, Tandragee, and CCTV was captured from which police identified the defendant.”

It was heard that Maughan was subject to a suspended sentence which he was handed at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court in April of this year, but this was not live at the time of the commission of this offence.

District Judge Paul Copeland informed the court that the defendant had 80 previous convictions.

Mr O’Hare stated: “He has been residing in West Belfast with his family and wife. He is a member of the Travelling Community and to his credit, he made full admissions to police when interviewed.

“The trailer has since been sold on but certainly not for the money quoted in the summons.”

District Judge Copeland said: “I consider this to be an imprisonable offence. Mr Maughan you are a highly experienced and successful thief. Your record is appalling with 80 convictions many of which were for acts of dishonesty.

“This court takes very seriously theft from agricultural and farming land. Incidents of rural crime are far too high in this jurisdiction.”

The district judge told him that if he came back to court on August 8 without the money to pay for the property stolen, he would be “giving serious consideration to sending you to prison for a considerable amount of time”.

“You took yourself from the city to carry out this theft, I have to make an example of you,” he added.

Maughan was released on his own bail of £500 to appear before Armagh Magistrates’ on August 8 for sentencing.

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