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Man who stole Fitbit, belt and watch was ‘struggling for money’ as he was ‘on the wrong benefits’

He also tried to make off with two bottles of gin from the Tesco store in Portadown

Tesco store

A Portadown man who stole a Fitbit, a watch and a belt and attempted to take two bottles of gin has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Court heard the 30-year-old was “struggling for money” at the time of the offence as he was not receiving the correct benefits.

Mark Brown, of Margaret Street, pleaded guilty to theft, going equipped for theft and attempted theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where he appeared via videolink from Maghaberry.

On March 8, the defendant stole a belt, a Fitbit and a watch to the value at around £55  from Tesco, Portadown and attempted to steal two bottles of Jawbox Gin.

Brown was found in possession of a pair of pliers and a screwdriver which assisted him in this.

Defence barrister John McCann stated: “There are a number of aggravating features, in this case. The goods were not fit for resale. This was a planned offence evident from the presence of pliers and a screwdriver.

“This was a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. There is no excuse for what he did but he was struggling for money at the time as he was on the wrong benefits.”

He continued: “This was a low enough level of offence. He was never going to get away with what he did given the cameras and security at the Tesco store.

“He has a number of mental health problems, including depression, OCD and ADHD.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “Given the nature of the offence in conjunction with your record, there is only one penalty I can impose.”

Brown was sentenced to three months in prison for the offence.

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