Stole items through self-checkout system

A 41 year old Banbridge man who stole items from Tesco including a scart lead and a pair of slippers, has been fined £200.

Nigel Roy Balcombe from Erinvale Terrace pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and a charge of obstructing police when he appeared before the town’s Magistrates Court last week.

A PPS prosecutor explained how on 7 March, police were called to Tesco to deal with a shoplifter who had been detained by staff.

Officers were informed how Balcombe had taken goods to the total value of £19 including a TV remote control and a scart lead and attempted to leave the store without paying.

He was observed taking the remote control from the packaging.

Police were then informed about two previous incidents on 17 February and 28 February when he stole slippers, flowers and a bottle of energy drink.

This was done by going through the self-scan check-out heard the court and Balcombe paid for some items, but took some without paying.

When initially spoken to by police, he gave a false identity which brought about the obstruction charge.

A solicitor said Balcombe was originally from London and had worked as a porter in Great Ormond Street before coming to Banbridge where he has lived for the past eight years.

The court heard Balcombe has a “certain vulnerability about him.”

The defence solicitor told the court that his client had used the self service check-out and in each case there were relatively minor amounts involved.

“This accelerated the temptation within him.

“There has also been a breakdown in the family since his redundancy two years ago and he found himself overcome at times and can’t explain things.”

“He had been in a very bad place in his life and he is someone with a lot of difficulties.”

District Judge Paul Copeland said he would give Balcombe credit for his plea and the fact he was experiencing challenging difficulties in his domestic situation and health.

“However it is apparent that it is not just a case of a one off confusion or upset and distress over personal circumstances.

“You did this on a number of occasions and this was part of a system you cracked. I am warning you not to make a career of this.”

Balcombe was given 6 weeks to pay the fines. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £10.65 and an offender’s levy of £15.