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Man stole six bottles of vodka from the same supermarket over two visits

His defence said: 'He is well known in the town. He went to the same store in the same clothes, which shows how amateurish it was'

Craigavon Court

A Lurgan man who stole six bottles of vodka from the same store on two separate visits has been handed a suspended sentence.

The 54-year-old’s solicitor told court: “This is a man who has lived a nomadic life. He does have a problem with alcohol. I have represented him for a number of years and it’s always vodka.”

James Patrick McDonagh, of Castle Lane Mews, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 29, security staff at Lidl, Lurgan, viewed CCTV from the previous day which showed a male place two bottles of Smirnoff vodka, valued at £26, in his waistband before leaving without paying.

A report of this theft was subsequently made to the police.

Then, on February 2, staff observed the male, later identified as the defendant, enter the store, wearing exactly them same clothing.

They watched as he exited the alcohol aisle with a plastic carrier bag heavy with items. McDonagh then walked past the tills and made for the exit.

A member of security approached the defendant, who then dropped the bag he had been carrying before running off.

The member of staff followed McDonagh onto Castle Lane, where he stopped him and waited on the arrival of police.

Prosecution outlined that on this occasions the defendant had attempted to make off with four bottles of vodka, valued at £52.

McDonagh was arrested and made full admissions to the offences when interviewed.

Defence solicitor Pat Vernon stated: “This is not the most sophisticated theft. He is well known in the town. He went to the same store in the same clothes, which shows how amateurish it was.

“This is a man who has lived a nomadic life. He does have a problem with alcohol. I have represented him for a number of years and it’s always vodka.”

McDonagh was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 18 months.

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