Northern Ireland news

Shoplifter jailed after targeting two supermarkets

Alexander Patterson was handed a 15-month sentence

A BELFAST man with a history of shoplifting and who features in a Retailers Against Crime booklet has been back in court on further theft offences.

Alexander Patterson was handed a 15-month sentence which was divided between two months custody and 13 months on licence by Judge Patricia Smyth, who said she was taking on board a recommendation by the Probation Board that Patterson attend the Thinking Skills programme while on licence.

Telling Patterson he could expect a "lengthy sentence" if he committed any further offences, the judge told the Cliftonpark Avenue man she was sceptical about his claims of remorse to probation.

The 28-year old appeared in Belfast Crown Court yesterday where he admitted two separate incidents of shoplifting last February. He stole electrical items worth £330 from Sainsbury's at Sprucefield on February 11, and targeted the Knockbreda branch of Tesco the following day, where he stole two TVs worth £658.

Crown prosecutor Mark Farrell said that on both occasions, Patterson loaded a trolley with goods and made no effort to pay for them before walking out the store and leaving the premises in a taxi.

Mr Farrell said that when CCTV was reviewed, staff at Tesco identified 'Sandy' Patterson as they recognised his image from the Retailers Against Crime booklet. He was also identified by a police officer who viewed CCTV footage.

Sentencing Patterson, Judge Smyth said she had read three previous probation reports. She said that whilst Patterson undertakes positive work in prison, expresses remorse and claims that his young family will act as a deterrent for further offending, "it is quite clear that has not been correct".

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