Thief stole designer jeans to feed drug habit

Laganside Court, Belfast
Laganside Court, Belfast

A 35-year-old man who stole six pairs of designer jeans from a Belfast store in a bid to feed his drugs habit has been handed a 21-month sentence.

Terrence Paul Maughan, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, stole the six pairs of Diesel jeans – which amounted to £600 – from the House of Fraser store in the city’s Victoria Square. All six pairs were recovered and were fit for sale.

Belfast Crown Court heard Maughan had 233 previous convictions, prompting Judge Gordon Kerr QC to brand the criminal record as “appalling.”

Maughan he will spend half of the sentence in prison, with the remaining months on supervised licence when he is released from custody.

Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that around 5.45pm on February 21, 2013 Maughan and a female came to the attention of security staff in House of Fraser as they were acting suspiciously.

Maughan was observed by CCTV operators leaving the store with the six pairs of jeans. Security staff chased him towards the city centre and during this pursuit, staff were able to retrieve all six stolen items.

He managed to escape arrest, but the CCTV footage was shown to two police officers who recognised Maughan and in July last year he was subsequently interviewed about the theft. Mr Jenkins said Maughan “fully and freely” admitted the theft, and also told officers he intended to sell the jeans to raise money to buy drugs.

Defence barrister Denis Boyd said that at the time of the offending, his client was living a transient lifestyle between Belfast and Dundalk. He also said that last February, Maughan’s brother died suddenly which caused his client to “go completely off the rails”.

Passing sentence, Judge Kerr noted that 27 of Maughan’s previous offences were for theft.