Shoplifted to fuel drug habit

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A woman who shoplifted to get money to fuel her drug habit was put on probation last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court.

Ashleigh Susan Hughes (23), Cline Road, Banbridge, at a previous court had admitted five theft charges and the case was adjourned so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

Four of the thefts related to Tescos – speakers and a cable worth £35 on October 22 last year, a speaker valued at £30 on October 29, three speakers and headphones worth £96 on November 3 and a speaker valued at £29 on November 5.

The other theft was of a £10 Gift Set from Boots in Banbridge on November 6.

The court heard that on November 4 police were alerted to three thefts which had taken place at Tescos on the Castlewellan Road, Banbridge.

Speaker systems had been taken and CCTV showed a female take the items and leave without paying.

Police were called again on November 5 and shown CCTV of a female taking speakers before going to the clothing area. She left with the items in a carrier bag.

The theft at Boots was also captured on CCTV and when the footage was circulated a police officer was able to identify the defendant.

When Hughes was arrested she made a full admission saying she stole the items to sell on to feed her drug addiction.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he had read the pre-sentence report and was highly impressed and noted the defendant’s degree of remorse.

He added that she had a positive attitude to put all this behind her and he was minded to go along with the probation recommendation.

A barrister representing Hughes said she continued to make positive progress and was extremely keen to engage with probation.

Imposing probation for nine months Judge Copeland said to the defendant: “Let this be your first, and last, appearance in any courtroom.”

Mr. Copeland also ordered the defendant to pay £190 compensation to Tescos and £10 to Boots.