Dublin women freed after £231 supermarket theft

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Two Dublin women who admitted stealing £231 of goods from a Belfast supermarket walked free from court on Saturday when a judge suspended their jail terms.

Appearing in the dock of Belfast Magistrates’ Court in tracksuits, 26-year-old Leanne McPhee and Julie Anne Joyce, 19, both pleaded guilty to the theft of food, clothes and toiletries worth £231.98 from the Shore Road Asda supermarket on Friday.

Unemployed McPhee, from Dublin but listed as having no fixed address, also admitted a charge of careless driving in the supermarket car park.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that having placed the various items into the trolley, they walked out of the supermarket “with no payment offered,” adding that once outside, McPhee appeared to “deliberately” drive at a female security officer although the car only moved “a centimetre or two”.

The stolen goods were recovered and fit for resale, said the lawyer.

Defence lawyer Conor Heaney said that both McPhee and Joyce, from Boru Court in the Swords area, intended to return to Dublin “as soon as possible”.

Jailing Joyce for four months and McPhee for two, with all sentences suspended for two years, District Judge Ken Nixon warned the pair they would have to serve those jail terms if they reoffended.

In addition the judge handed McPhee a 12-month conditional discharge for careless driving “bearing in mind the distance moved”.