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Man who travelled to Co Armagh to carry out theft ‘in hope of not being recognised’

A Belfast man has been sentenced to six months in prison for a theft from a Co. Armagh store over three years ago.

A judge told the 51-year-old that the offence was “aggravated by the fact you travelled from Belfast to Craigavon because you thought you would not be recognised”.

Gary Cooper, of Glenmore Street, pleaded guilty to theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry.

Defence barrister Damien Halloran informed the court that the defendant had recently been sentenced to nine months in custody for another offence.

It was heard that on May 22 of 2015 police were contacted by staff at Eason’s in Rushmere shopping centre in relation to a theft.

The supervisor watched CCTV footage which showed a male place a number of items into a carrier bag he was carrying before leaving without paying.

When shown the recording, two police officers identified the male in question as Cooper.

Court heard that the estimated cost of the items taken was £243.81 with none of this being recovered.

The defendant was interviewed in February 2016 about this offence and made no comment.

Mr Halloran stated: “Mr Cooper is serving a nine-month custodial sentence and not to mitigate this offence, but it is ancient history”.

He added: “This man has an extensive record, now that he is in custody, he wishes to clear the decks”.

It was also heard that the defendant currently had a suspended sentence which is live until 2021 with regards to theft.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “This is a very serious matter which is aggravated by the fact you travelled from Belfast to Craigavon because you thought you would not be recognised”.

Cooper was sentenced to six months in prison with judge Kelly ordering that this was due run concurrently to his current sentence.

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