Man who wheeled packed trolley out of store without offering payment had ‘spent benefit money on drugs’

Ballymena Court

A MAN who wheeled a trolley crammed with £150 worth of groceries out of Sainsbury’s supermarket in Ballymena without paying had blown on all his benefit money on drugs, a defence solicitor said.

Neil McDonald (40), with an address listed as Drumtara in Ballymena, admitted a charge of theft relating to October 14 last year.

A prosecutor told Thursday’s sitting of Ballymena Magistrates Court that McDonald was followed by security staff who noted a vehicle registration and although police tracked down the defendant the goods were not recovered.

A defence solicitor said the defendant’s life had been “plagued by addiction” to drugs including heroin and he had run up substantial “drug debts”.

The lawyer said the defendant was seeking to address his drug problem.

District Judge Nigel Broderick ordered the defendant to do 120 hours of Community Service; pay compensation of £146.75 and a suspended sentence of three months was varied to run for a year from the date of Thursday’s court.

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