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Man stole over £1,000 worth of football tops from two Craigavon shops

His defence said his actions came the day before he was given a 15 month sentence at Craigavon Crown Court for similar offences

Police PSNI Rushmere

A man who stole over £1,000 worth of football tops from two Co Armagh stores in one day has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

The 38-year-old’s barrister told court that the “primary motivator” behind his client’s offending was an issue with gambling.

Pearce Robert McCullough, of Good Shepherd Court in Dunmurry, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry.

Prosecution outlined that on October 1, the defendant had entered O’Neills Sports Store in Craigavon, placing Celtic football tops to the total value of £656 into a bag-for-life and then left without making any effort to pay.

A short time later, McCullough was observed by a member of staff in JD Sports at the Rushmere Shopping Centre on CCTV placing £600 worth of football tops into a bag.

When challenged regarding this, the defendant handed the bag back to the member of staff.

McCullough was arrested and interviewed on February 27. During this he made no comment other than to claim it was not him in the CCTV footage.

Defence barrister Patrick Taylor stated: “This occurred the day before the offence for which he received a suspended sentence. He received a 15 month sentence at Craigavon Crown Court for similar offences.

“He has a significant record for theft and other offences of dishonesty.”

Mr Taylor commented that the “primary motivator” behind his client’s offending was an issue with gambling.

He stated: “It is the same MO. He enters a store before placing items in a foil bag. Normally these are items which are easy to resell.”

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes commented: “I am going to give you something of a chance, although it could work out badly for you.”

McCullough was sentenced to 11 months in prison suspended for a period of three years.

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