Alleged shoplifter barred from every Co-op as part of bail claims he was only looking at meat because he was ‘hungry’

The court heard an incident happened at the Co-op on Ballymena's Broughshane Street. Picture: Google Maps.

A MAN accused of playing a part in the theft of £100 worth of goods from a Ballymena supermarket claimed he was only looking at meat because he was “hungry”.

Paul Millar (38) appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via a video link from Antrim Police Station, charged with the theft of meat worth £103 from Co-op at Broughshane Street, Ballymena, on October 11 this year.

The defendant’s address was given as Waveney Brow, Ballymena.

A police officer objected to bail and said on October 11 two males were shown on CCTV lifting meat and Millar was seen passing the items to another male who put them into a holdall.

The court heard police were seeking to speak to that male.

Both males left without making an attempt to pay and when police viewed CCTV they “immediately” identified Millar, who has 127 previous convictions including 30 for theft.

The officer said during a police interview, the defendant admitted it was him on CCTV but said that he had gone to the store to use an ATM machine and refused to name the other male.

The officer said the defendant said the other male stole the items and he had “nothing to do with it”.

When asked why he allegedly passed items to the other suspect, the officer said Millar said he was “looking at the meat as he was hungry”.

The policeman objected to bail on the grounds that with the defendant’s previous record there was a strong likelihood of reoffending.

The police officer told the court the offences were committed whilst Millar was on court bail for alleged offences including burglary.

Defence barrister Andrew Moriarty said the defendant had had “profound difficulties with drug addiction”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the record was “atrocious” but said there had been a “slight tailing off” in offending.

Millar was released on his own bail of £500 with conditions that he is not to enter any Co-op and the case was adjourned to November 5.

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