Dublin woman avoids jail for £3,000 Belfast shoplifting spree


A Dublin woman who stole more than £3,000 worth of clothes during a one-day shoplifting spree in Belfast has avoided jail.

Julie Anne Joyce’s eight-month prison term was suspended after a judge was told an older woman who has since died was the driving force behind the thieving.

Joyce, 23, of Edenmore Walk in the Raheny area, targeted 10 different city centre stores.

She also used a magnet as part of her crime operation.

Joyce admitted 10 counts of theft, as well as going equipped for theft and obstructing police – all committed on October 12, 2016.

Clothing was stolen from House of Fraser, River Island, Marks & Spencer, Next, Gap, Top Shop, Mamas & Papas, and The Disney Store.

She also raided Lifestyle Sports and JD Sports.

As she appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court for sentencing, defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott confirmed nearly all of the goods were fit for resale.

He said Joyce accepted her involvement in the shoplifting spree, but claimed his client had been brought along by an older woman who is now deceased.

Mr MacDermott stressed she hasn’t been in trouble since that occasion.

“She is intending to go back to Dublin to be with her four-year-old child,” he added.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall told Joyce she had committed serious offences which could have warranted imprisonment.

But based on the circumstances outlined, she decided to suspend the eight-month term for two years.