‘Habitual offender’ jailed for £30 theft of two blouses

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A woman branded in court as a “habitual offender’’ with 100 convictions for theft was jailed on Friday for stealing £30 worth of clothes out of a Belfast city centre shop.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Rosaleen Mary Bradley stole two blouses from the Gap store in CastleCourt shopping centre in Royal Avenue while under a 16-month suspended sentence.

The 31-year-old, from Antrim Road, north Belfast, pleaded guilty to a single charge of theft on February 7, 2014.

A pProsecution lawyer told the court that Bradley was spotted acting suspiciously in the store.

“Security guards checked CCTV cameras and noticed she had put some items of clothing into her bag and left the shop without paying.’’

Bradley was arrested in November last year by police but made no comment during interview about the theft.

The court heard the items of clothing have never been recovered.

The lawyer told deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC that Bradley had 134 previous convictions, including 100 for theft.

The court was told that at the time of the theft she was in breach of four suspended sentences including a 16-month prison sentence suspended for three years for stealing goods to the value of £3,000.

A defence solicitor said Bradley was suffering from drug addiction to diazepam and heroin and was receiving ongoing help with that addiction.

Judge Philpott QC told Bradley: “You are an habitual offender. If you wanted to stop stealing you would stop. But you are going to have to stop thieving.

“You can’t make a complete mockery of the the legal system. Addiction to diazepam does not make you steal.’’

But the judge said she would not activitate any of the suspended sentences at this stage.

She sentenced Bradley to three months in custody, telling her: “I am hoping this will be the final lesson.”

However, the judge released Bradley on bail until Monday to allow her to acquire prescribed medication for her drug addiction.