A woman who carried out a refund scam at a Marks & Spencer store while her daughter was there for a job interview has been given a three-month suspended jail sentence.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Linda McIntyre took a jacket from clothing rails in the shop, approached the till and asked for money back.
Referring to the 44-year-old’s six previous convictions for theft, Judge Joe Rice said: “She’s a very active amateur shoplifter.”
McIntyre, of Millview Meadow in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, committed the fraud by false representation at a branch of Marks & Spencer in Belfast on June 29.
A prosecution lawyer said she took the £69.99 jacket off its hanger, went to the changing rooms and then headed to customer services to seek a refund.
Staff discovered a rip in the item, rendering it unfit for resale.
McIntyre made full admissions after being arrested and interviewed.
Defence counsel Luke Curran confirmed the fraud occurred while his client’s daughter was at the store for a job interview.
There is no suggestion that McIntyre’s daughter was in any way aware of the offence being committed.
Mr Curran stressed the incident had coincided with a low point in the defendant’s life.
But the judge pointed out: “She has convictions for theft the length and breadth of the province - Omagh, Dungannon, Lisburn, Craigavon, Coleraine - and now Belfast.”
He continued: “She took advantage of a situation where her daughter is going for a job interview, comes up from Tyrone and quite deliberately steals this article.”
Telling McIntyre she has been given “chance upon chance”, Mr Rice imposed a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He also ordered her to pay the full £69.99 in compensation.