Theft of £4.65 bottle of vodka costs alcoholic jail term

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An alcoholic who stole a bottle of vodka priced at under £5 was jailed for two months on Monday.

A judge told Kieran Kelly that his catalogue of previous offences left her with no alternative to sending him to prison.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard how the 51-year-old carried out the theft at Dunnes Stores in the city centre on Saturday.

He lifted a bottle valued at £4.65, put it in a brown paper bag and left without paying.

Security staff identified him on CCTV cameras and alerted police who detained him outside.

Kelly, of no fixed address, admitted the theft, stating his intention was to steal the vodka as he had no money to pay for it.

According to his lawyer he has little, if any, family support.

Appealing for leniency, she attributed the offence to his chronic alcohol addiction.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall acknowledged Kelly had pleaded guilty immediately.

She added: “I agree the actual offence, in isolation, is not the most serious.

“However, unfortunately he has had 234 other offences which has to be taken into account.”

With a number of those crimes involving thefts, Judge Bagnall held that he had crossed the threshold for imprisonment.

Passing sentence, she confirmed: “There will be two months in custody.”