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Pair who stole over £150 worth of goods from Armagh sports store spared prison sentences

Court heard the younger of the two - who is 18 - now has six convictions for theft

A Co Fermanagh pair who stole over £150 worth of goods from an Armagh city sports store have both been spared prison sentences.

Charles Ward, 40, and Bridget Ward, 18, both of Yoan Road in Enniskillen, appeared for sentencing on one count of theft at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday via videolink from their solicitor’s office.

Prosecution outlined that on September 22, upon reviewing CCTV, staff at Sports Direct at the Spires Retail Park observed two individuals removing tags from clothing and footwear to the total value of £160.47, before leaving without paying.

The male and female were subsequently identified as the defendants, however, both failed to attend at a police station for voluntary interviews.

Dealing with the case against Ms Ward first, defence barrister Conor Coulter stated: “She has amassed a considerable record given her young age and that will be of a concern to the court. This will be her sixth entry on her record for theft.”

He added that Ms Ward was on this occasion with the “older” co-defendant and claimed it led to being “pressured” into the offending.

Turning to Mr Ward’s defence Mr Coulter stated: “He is in a much more difficult situation and is certainly on the brink of custody. He is in breach of a significant suspended sentence from 2019 which related to a litany of fraud offences.”

The barrister commented that there was “little option” in relation to Mr Ward but asked that his client was given “one final chance” through a period of deferral.

Mr Coulter pointed out that the suspended sentence which Mr Ward was in breach of related to offences from 2017, some four years ago.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter stated: “Mr Ward, this is yet another dishonesty offence. Yes this is different than the offences for which you received a suspended sentence but they are relevant and you are on the cusp of going to jail.”

The judge deferred sentencing until April 26, of next year, telling him that if he did not come to the attention of police he would be dealt with in a way short of an immediate custodial sentence.

Turning to Ms Ward, Deputy District Judge Prenter said: “Ms Ward, you are younger and you do not have as much on your record but this is now your sixth conviction for theft.”

She was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for a period of 18 months.

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