Northern Ireland news

Thief caught getting hair cut after going on high-value shoplifting spree jailed for eight months

Police found Thomas Gerard Ward (29) in a barber shop following raids on three city centre retailers

A THIEF caught getting his hair cut after going on a high-value shoplifting spree in Belfast has been jailed for eight months.

Police found Thomas Gerard Ward (29) in a barber shop following raids on three city centre retailers.

Ward, of Derg View in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, admitted three counts of theft.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard that he stole a £150 coat from Superdry, clothing, duvets and pillows valued at £86 from Dunnes Stores, and £180 worth of electronic items from HMV.

The offences were all committed on October 26 last year.

A prosecution lawyer said: “The defendant was located by police in a barbers, getting a haircut.”

Ward told officers that he had taken the coat because he was cold.

All of the stolen items were recovered and able to be put back on sale by the three stores.

Defence counsel acknowledged it was “a persistent and blatant case of shoplifting”.

The offences stemmed from Ward moving to another address after splitting up with his long-term partner, the court heard.

“He had this new property but didn’t have the finances to buy basic household items,” the barrister added.

“His behaviour was unacceptable behaviour, but he’s a man with very limited means and poverty was an issue for him.”

District Judge Anne Marshall highlighted that Ward has a “multitude” of previous offences.

Imposing four months imprisonment, she also ordered him to serve a further four months from a previous suspended term.

Judge Marshall said: “The custody threshold is clearly passed for this shoplifting spree.

“He went around three different shops and (the goods) were only recovered because he was stopped. He has an atrocious record for dishonesty.”


Northern Ireland news