Northern Ireland news

Co Antrim Facebook scammer warned he faces jail

John McGivern (32) admitted five counts of theft

A CO Antrim man who used Facebook Marketplace to steal video game systems from sellers could still face imprisonment, a judge has warned.

John McGivern (32) admitted five counts of theft from victims trading through the online service.

The charges related to a scam where payments for the high-value consoles and a mobile phone were never transferred.

McGivern, of Coolshannagh Park in Newtownabbey, was charged with stealing three Playstations, an xBox and a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus on dates between October and December last year.

The items had a combined value of just over £1,400.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday the defendant pleaded guilty to all five offences.

Deputy District Judge Liam McStay heard McGivern has so far failed to engage with probation services.

But defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott urged him not to jail his client and give another chance to cooperate with the authorities.

Following submissions Mr McStay decided to order a pre-sentence report to see if an alternative to immediate custody is possible.

He told McGivern: "I had formed the view that I should give you a prison sentence and just be done with it, that's how serious it is."

However, adjourning the case for four weeks, the judge indicated it was a warning to keep any probation appointments.

He added: "You would be well advised to raise some money towards compensation in the meantime."

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