Customer alerted staff about shoplifter at a Ballymena store

A customer alerted staff at the TK Maxx shop in Ballymena that a man was stealing items and a holdall packed with stock was then located near the exit.

Maurice Ayres (24), with an address at Staffa Drive in the town, was detected on December 8 last year.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court  he pleaded guilty to theft.

He appeared via video link from Magilligan Prison where he said he had been returned ‘on licence’ with a release date in November.

A prosecutor said Ayres had entered TK Maxx with a holdall and was then seen entering a second time.

A customer alerted staff that the defendant was putting items inside his clothing.

The holdall “full of stock” was then located.

The court heard that when detected Ayres asked for his bag back.

When interviewed he admitted he was “heavily intoxicated” and admitted leaving the shop with two pairs of shorts up his coat.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the revoking of Ayres’ licence may have been a “godsend” as he was now “drug free” and his good behaviour in prison had led to him getting “enhanced prisoner” status.

Ayres was given a three months sentence on the theft charge.

Mr Ballentine said the defendant did not plan to go into hostel accommodation upon his release from prison as that was his “downfall in the past”.

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