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Jail for man who stole £21 worth of meat three days after being sentenced to probation

He seen entering the store and filling a white plastic bag with meat before leaving without paying

A Portadown man who stole meat from a store just three days after being handed a probation order has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

The 36-year-old’s legal representative told court: “Your worship saw that he needed the help but he did not get far enough.”

Joseph Francis McCabe, of Edward Street, pleaded guilty to theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, appearing via videolink from Maghaberry.

Prosecution outlined that on November 25, at 9.15pm, police received a report of the theft of a number of meat items from the Spar filling station on Bridge Street, Portadown.

A male was seen entering the store and filling a white plastic bag with meat, to the value of £21, and leaving without paying.

He was described as having a shaved head, wearing a black coat and grey tracksuit bottoms.

Police on patrol spotted the defendant, who matched the description, on the Garvaghy Road and during a search the stolen meat was found in his possession.

McCabe was subsequently arrested and made no reply when he was cautioned for the offence.

He was interviewed the following day. The defendant stated that he had gone into the store to buy a drink, he changed his mind and had no other memory, which he believed could have been caused by medication.

Defence counsel said: “On November 22, your worship gave this defendant the benefit of a probation order but this offence occurred within days.

“He is in breach of a suspended sentence and has lost an opportunity to engage with a drug programme. Your worship saw that he needed the help but he did not get far enough.”

He added: “This is a man who has had a very difficult upbringing, which I will not go into in open court. He has no education or work history and has poor literacy.

“From the report, probation have taken the view that there are no options left for Mr McCabe.”

District Judge Steven Keown commented: “This report makes for depressing reading.”

Defence counsel stated: “He has remained off drugs whilst he has been in custody and this is something he has not been able to do whilst in the community.”

McCabe was sentenced to four months in prison for this offence, while a further four months of a suspended sentence were also invoked and ordered to run consecutively, making a total of eight months in prison.

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