Northern Ireland news

Man (26) jailed for 'mean' theft of church lead

The lead was stolen from Glengormley Presbyterian Church outside north Belfast

A man involved in the "mean" theft of lead from a church has been told he must serve seven months in jail.

Darren O'Sullivan (26) joined others to carry out the raid on Glengormley Presbyterian Church just outside north Belfast.

Lead flashing valued at £100 was stolen from the building on the Antrim Road in the early hours of July 8.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard that police called to the scene were able to arrest those involved.

O'Sullivan, of Oldpark Road in the city, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft.

His barrister, Kelly Doherty, argued that he had not instigated the crime.

"He was not the orchestrator, he was brought along because he had a car," she said.

Ms Doherty also insisted there was no damage caused and described her client as a vulnerable individual suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to a paramilitary-style attack years ago.

But Judge Peter Prenter pointed to O'Sullivan's record of 10 previous theft and dishonesty offences carried out for financial gain.

He said: "This one, stealing lead off a church, is particularly mean."

Mr Prenter also stressed that O'Sullivan was in breach of at least one suspended sentence.

"He simply doesn't seem to have learnt a lesson at all," the judge said.

"It's my view that there's no other option but (immediate imprisonment)."

O'Sullivan was ordered to serve four months for the theft, with a further three months of the earlier suspended term also activated.

However, he was granted bail pending a planned appeal.

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