Jail warning after Belfast shoplifter gets community service sentence


A member of an organised shoplifting gang with an “outrageous’’ record of 75 convictions has been given 100 hours of community service for stealing £300 worth of designer T-shirts.

A judge warned Philip Joseph Christopher Dorrian, 29, who admitted the theft, that if he failed to complete the community service order “you will be going to prison”.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that on February 13, 2013, Dorrian, of Friendly Street in the Markets district of south Belfast, was part of a two-man team who went into the Cruise fashion shop in the Victoria Square shopping centre.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC heard that the second man “tapped’’ on a pile of Ralph Lauren T-shirts before Dorrian moved in to remove four of the shirts – valued at £75 each – and placed them in a plastic carrier bag and then left the store.

The lawyer said store security alerted police and PSNI CCTV operators picked up Dorrian walking through the city centre as he was wearing a “distinctive purple hoodie with a white zip’’.

He was arrested in Stanfield Place in the Markets district but he had already dumped the carrier bag and the court was told the property has never been recovered.

The court heard that at the time of the theft Dorrian was on licence after being sentenced for robbery and remains on licence until 2018.

In 2011, Dorrian was jailed for four years after he was convicted of a masked raid on a travel agent’s in east Belfast.

During the hold-up in 2009, one of the robbers threatened to stab the manageress if she didn’t tell the four-man gang where the cash box was kept. Dorrian admitted arming himself with a hammer for the robbery.

Judge Kerr QC said Dorrian was part of an “organised shoplifting team’’ who had gone into the shop to steal the clothing.

He added: “You have 75 previous convictions and at the age of 29 that is outrageous.”

The judge said that he was satisfied he could give Dorrian another opportunity not to reoffend as he was still the subject of a licence period for a further three years and he was also the subject of a suspended sentence.

Stating he believed the appropriate sentence was one of 100 hours of community service, Judge Kerr QC warned Dorrian that if he “didn’t fulfil every instruction given by the community service officer, you will be back before me and I can assure you that you will be going to prison”.