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Alcoholic who stole crisps in burglary a 'menace to society'

By John Cassidy

Published 09/09/2015

A man with 166 previous convictions has been branded by a judge a
A man with 166 previous convictions has been branded by a judge a "menace to society" after breaking into a seaside hotel and helping himself to bags of crisps.

A man with 166 previous convictions has been branded by a judge a "menace to society" after breaking into a seaside hotel and helping himself to bags of crisps.

Chronic alcoholic William Millar was told he would "spend the rest of his days" in jail if he didn't change his life around and stop reoffending.

Millar (53), of Garmoyle Street in north Belfast, had pleaded guilty earlier this year at Downpatrick Crown Court to a single charge of burglary.

Prosecution lawyer Sam Magee told the court that Millar had been freed on bail in April following his guilty plea to see if he could "show a willingness" not to reoffend.

But three months later he was remanded in custody after breaching the terms of his bail conditions.

Mr Magee told Judge Piers Grant that Millar broke into the Portaferry Hotel in Portaferry, Co Down, on January 15 this year by smashing a window.

"There was a small number of bags of crisps which the defendant had left on the premises," he said.

Millar was arrested a few days later in Belfast's Shaftesbury Square for the hotel burglary and admitted the offence.

The court was told that the bill for the damage amounted to £1,650 - £1,500 for repair of the window and £150 to board it up.

The prosecutor said that at the time of the offence Millar was in breach of two suspended sentences totalling eight months for assault and harassment.

Defence barrister Kelly Doherty said Millar was suffering from a "chronic alcohol condition for the past 30 years".

The lawyer confirmed that the defendant had drank a bottle of vodka, caught the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry and ended up "getting stranded" with no way home.

She added that the offence was at a "low level" as it was a burglary of a hotel as opposed to an occupied house.

Ms Doherty said it was clear that Millar needed "rehabilitation" and needed help with his alcoholism.

Judge Grant told Millar: "You have 166 convictions: assaulting police; burglary; blackmail; harassment, breach of bail. You are a menace to society."

The judge said that "people may think I am unwise to do this", but said he proposed to sentence Millar by way of a combination order of 100 hours community service and 18 months on probation.

He warned Millar: "This is absolutely your last chance."

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