Man stole RoI football shirts one hour after suspended sentence

Justice system
Justice system

A 27-year-old shoplifter who went shoplifting within an hour of being freed on a suspended nine-month sentence last September was given an extra 18-month sentence today.

Alexander Patterson, from Cliftonpark Avenue in Belfast, who has 57 previous convctions, was one of two men who snatched 22 Republic of Ireland football shirts from a city centre store.

Jailing him, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC ordered that Patterson’s original suspended sentence be put into operation and be served consecutively to his sentence for his “blatant theft”.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins had earlier told the court that Patterson and 19-year-old Thomas Kane, from Spamount Street, had previously been in the Celtic Store with a number of others, but left without buying anything. However, a short time later they returned and grabbed over £1,000 worth of football shirts and ran off.

Mr Jenkins said the pair were arrested after being followed by staff, one of whom fractured her shoulder after falling while running after them.

Defence solicitor Gerald McNamara accepted that Patterson was caught red-handed committing the theft, “probably within an hour” after being freed, and that a “custodial sentence is inevitable” in this case.

Kane’s barrister Michael Ward said the thefts were not a sophisticated offence and that quite clearly, as staff had said, he “was off his head” having taken a combination of prescription drugs and cannabis.

Kane, who also admitted assaulting police and causing criminal damage to a police car following his arrest, was freed on three years probation.