Addict who carried out wave of alcohol thefts following alleged issue with benefits is jailed for seven months

Ballymena Court

AN addict who claimed he carried out a wave of alcohol thefts in Ballymena after not receiving benefits for a period of time because he missed an appointment during a changeover has been jailed for seven months.

Nicky Millar (29), of Drumtara, Ballymena, took bottles of whiskey worth £38 from Lidl in Ballymena in July this year.

He also swiped two bottles of wine worth £16.50 from the Co-Op on August 24 and later on the same date took four bottles of vodka and two bottles of coke worth £72 from Tesco at Larne Road Link.

On September 3 he took vodka and gin worth £33 from Tesco and on September 18 he took sweets worth £1 from the Spar at Larne Road in Ballymena.

The court heard he had been in possession of drugs including Diazepam, Alprazolam, Zolpidem, burprhenorphine and cannabis in March, 2018.

The defendant, who appeared at court via video link from prison, pleaded guilty to all the charges he faced.

Ballymena Magistrates Court, on Thursday, heard the drugs offences came to light after police responded to a report that Millar had suffered a suspected drug overdose.

The defendant told police he couldn’t remember what happened to him on that day.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said the defendant had long-standing alcohol and drug addiction issues.

At the time of the shoplifting offences, the lawyer said there had been a changeover in benefits and after missing an appointment Millar had not received any money for a period and there had then been offending.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said much of the offending was driven by Millar’s addiction to prescription medication, illegal drugs and alcohol.

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