Serial burglar told: obey law or face a life in jail

Maghaberry Prison
Maghaberry Prison

A north Belfast man with an “appalling” criminal record has been jailed for burgling a house, stealing alcohol, then driving a car away while under the influence.

Mario Felloni, aged 35 and whose address was given as c/o Maghaberry prison, was told by a judge at Belfast Crown Court today that if he did not amend his criminal conduct he “faced a life in prison”.

Judge Patricia Smyth said Felloni entered a house a Palestine Street, in the Holylands area of south Belfast, on February this year around 11.30pm, shortly after the occupier had left.

Felloni pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing four ciders and a set of car keys.

“You then took the car and drove whilst under the influcence of alcohol,” said the judge. “You were driving with no insurance and without lights on before you were stopped by police.”

Judge Smyth told the court one of the aggravating factors was Felloni’s “appalling” record of 116 convictions, including 10 burglary offences.

At the time of the burglary, Felloni was the subject of a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years.

The Probation Service had assessed the defendant as a high likelihood of reoffending but did not believe he posed a danger to the public.

Reports also stated that his continued homelessness and substance abuse had been contributory factors in his criminal offending.

The court heard his life had been spent in institutions between care homes, training schools, and prison.

Judge Smyth told Felloni the sentence for burglary was two-and-a-half years, which was normally divided equally between custody and licence.

But she said because the defendant needed assistance with his substance misuse and homelessnes, “the public might be better protected with a longer licence period”.

The judge imposed a 12 month prison sentence followed by 18 months on licence.

He received a further three months in custody for breach of his suspended sentence.

Felloni was also handed a four year driving ban.