Alleged serial thief breached a ban on entering any shop in Northern Ireland to ‘use the toilet’

AN alleged serial thief living in Ballymena breached a ban on entering any shop in Northern Ireland to use the toilet, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said Deirdre McKeown was spotted in three stores at a retail centre in Coleraine.

A judge was told the 52-year-old previously flouted the no-go order by going into a fashion outlet in Larne, Co Antrim – where she bumped into her probation officer.

Opposing her renewed application for bail, Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton argued: “There are no further suitable conditions that can be imposed.”

McKeown, of Ashbourne Manor in Ballymena, is charged with two counts of theft.

The alleged offences involve stealing sandwiches worth £6 from a Spar in Galgorm on August 8 and taking food and drink valued at £14 from the same premises five days later.

McKeown had secured bail, on a strict condition that she must not enter any retail outlet in Northern Ireland.

But the court heard she ran into her probation officer while in the Peacocks store in Larne on September 5.

She was released again, only to be seen at the Diamond Centre in Coleraine on September 20.

According to Ms Pinkerton the accused went into three shops: Sports Direct, New look and TK Maxx.

No further alleged offences were committed.

Defence counsel Craig Patton said his client had been in Coleraine to sort out benefits.

Citing medical issues, the barrister went on: “While waiting for that she needed to go to the toilet and went into the centre.”

Mr Patton contended that the entrance to the shopping mall is through the Sports Direct store.

Granting bail once more, Mr Justice Colton ordered a £500 cash surety.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the judge also stressed: “I will re-impose the condition that she doesn’t enter any retail outlet anywhere in Northern Ireland”.

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