Judge tells drug addict shoplifter to get to get to grips with addiction or face a life-time of being in and out of prison

Ballymena Court

A drug addict who shoplifted in Ballymena and Portstewart has been told by a judge he needs to get to grips with his addiction otherwise prison is going to be a “revolving door”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates Court to John Monroe (37), of Lever Park in Portstewart.

The defendant admitted stealing a £20 electric toothbrush from Boots in Ballymena and items including pot noodles and ice cream from a shop in Portstewart.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said they were low level thefts committed whilst Monroe was under the influence of drugs.

He said the defendant had fallen off the “straight and narrow” after being drug-free for a time and that fighting addiction had been a “life-long struggle”.

The defendant appeared before Ballymena Magistrates Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison.

Judge Broderick said Monroe had a very poor criminal record which he accepted was really because of a long-standing drug addiction.

The court heard it was hoped that, upon release, the defendant could get into Carlisle House – a residential substance misuse treatment centre in Belfast.

Jailing Monroe for three months the judge said if the drugs issues was not tackled prison would be a “revolving door”.

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