‘Blatant’ supermarket thief who walked out with five packed trolleys containing £1,400 of goods claimed strong medication made him ‘forget things’

Sainsbury's in Ballymena

A MAN who filled trolleys with goods totalling more than £1,400 in five “blatant” raids at supermarkets in the Antrim and Ballymena initially told police strong medication made him “forget things”.

David Mawhinney (46), of Drumtara, Ballymena, eventually admitted five thefts relating to shoplifting raids in August when amounts taken included £465, £316, £228, £214 and £213.

There were incidents at Tesco and Sainsbury stores.

When interviewed he told police he was on “high level medication” which made him “forget things”.

At court he pleaded guilty to five charges of theft.

A prosecutor said CCTV showed the defendant leaving stores.

On one occasion he was stopped by a member of staff and he “simply left the trolley and walked away”.

On another occasion an alarm sounded and again he left the trolley behind and on another occasion he was caught by two off-duty police officers.

A defence lawyer said the defendant had been “crying for help” for medical help with his addictions.

Mawhinney, who had a previous record for shoplifting in England, was jailed for four months.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there was a “clear pattern” of the defendant going into supermarkets, loading up trolleys with “not insignificant” amounts of goods, and then trying to walk out the front door in “blatant and audacious” attempts to steal.

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