Travelled to town to steal for her drugs

The justice system
The justice system

A woman who travelled to Banbridge to steal so she could fund her heroin habit has been given 200 hours community service.

Patricia Anne Lappin (26), The Square, Stewartstown, admitted stealing clothing valued at £82.98 from DV8 in Newry Street, Banbridge, on June 2 this year.

She also pleaded guilty to going equipped for theft with a foil lined bag.

Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday that about 2.15pm police received a report from DV8 of a woman leaving the store without paying before getting into a car which drove off in the direction of Huntly Road.

When police stopped the car Lappin was in the passenger seat.

In the foot well was a foil lined bag containing the items stolen from DV8.

The items were found to be fit for re-sale.

A barrister representing the defendant said she had been in custody since June 3.

He added that she had been fairly candid in a pre-sentence report about her addiction to heroin.

The barrister said she had offences for theft and dishonesty and had appeared in court on a regular basis for stealing to fund her drug habit.

He pointed out that she had been on counselling courses and treatment programmes in the past and there had been a significant gap in her offending between 2012 and 2014.

Since then she had been in court on three occasions and received custodial sentences.

The barrister said that her appearance was much better since the last time in the court when she was ‘shaking’ and she was keen to try and beat this drug habit.

He added that perhaps there were others who were using her to commit these offences because she was vulnerable.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he had noted six reasons why the defendant should be sent to prison to serve a sentence of six months.

He described the offences as a ‘pre-planned act to come to Banbridge to steal’ and this would not be tolerated.

The judge said he would take into account she had been in custody for a month and others motivated her to be involved but she should have known what she was at.

He added that probation indicated she was suitable for community service and imposed 200 hours.