A patient caught with a “swag bag” of staff belongings inside Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital has been jailed for four months.
Thomas Mallon, 28, stole items including a torch and mobile phone during the raid on a private area of the clinic he was in.
Judge Joe Rice told him: “It’s difficult to imagine a more mean offence committed in a hospital after the same hospital staff had treated you.”
Mallon, of Mayflower Street in the city, admitted carrying out the burglary on July 18 last year.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he was taken to the Royal by ambulance after falling and cutting his face.
But following treatment Mallon was disturbed in a staff-only part of the hospital.
CCTV footage showed him going through secure doors to the area where a cooler bag, torch and phone belonging to a nurse were taken.
He was searched and all items were recovered.
During interviews Mallon stated: “I hold my hands up to it.”
Mr Rice pressed for an explanation on how he was able to get into the private area to take staff belongings.
“There’s a selection of stolen goods in a swag bag,” he added.
At one point the accused attempted to interject from the dock, only to be instructed to remain silent.
“If you have no respect for the hospital you will have respect for the court,” the judge insisted.
Turlough Madden, defending, submitted that the secure doors had been unlocked.
Counsel also set out his client’s struggles with depression following a family bereavement.
“He had fallen on hard times, but he’s trying to get his life back on track,” Mr Madden said.
Mallon was sentenced to three months in jail for the burglary, with a previously suspended one-month term for an earlier theft activated to run consecutively.
Bail was granted for an appeal against the total four months imprisonment.