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Woman narrowly escapes custody with conviction number 18 for theft

A woman who has 17 previous convictions for theft has escaped immediate custody after stealing a pair of leggings from a Portadown store.

The 42-year-old’s barrister told court that the defendant had an “ongoing battle” with heroin and was currently working with probation.

Bernie Fitzpatrick, of Cloneen, Dungannon appeared for sentencing on theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that at 5.30pm on September 16, of 2018, police received a report of a theft from Peacocks.

Staff showed officers CCTV which showed a female enter the store and place a pair of leggings, valued at £10, in her bag before leaving.

The defendant was identified as the perpetrator from the footage on the security cameras.

She attended for a voluntary interview during which she accepted it was her in the footage but denied the theft.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “Ms Fitzpatrick has for quite some time been subject to various court orders, she is addicted to heroin and this is an ongoing battle.

“She has recently been given a chance in the Crown court with the imposition of a lengthy probation order, she is engaging well and is trying to address her issues”.

Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor said: “Ms Fitzpatrick, you have accrued 17, now 18, convictions for theft and there is no doubt this was a brazen attempt to steal.”

The defendant was sentenced to one month in prison suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay restitution of £10 to Peacocks.

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