Belfast Telegraph

Back in jail, hand gel thief who was out on licence

By George Jackson

A man who stole a bottle of hand gel valued at just 61p from a Superdrug store in Londonderry has been jailed.

Joseph Ferguson, who is originally from Belfast, was out on licence from prison when he committed the theft from a shop in Derry's Ferryquay Street on June 9.

Ferguson, who has an address with the Simon Community at Bond's Hill in the Waterside, had failed to turn up to court earlier this month for sentencing for the theft, which he had admitted.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest and he appeared in Derry Magistrates Court yesterday.

A prosecution solicitor told Deputy District Judge Paul Conway that CCTV footage from inside the store showed Ferguson putting the bottle into his left-hand jacket pocket and leaving the premises without paying for the gel.

The 35-year-old was detained by security staff and arrested when the police arrived.

Ferguson, who has 106 previous criminal convictions, was fined £50 for the theft.

Mr Conway said that while a jail sentence would be disproportionate to the crime, the impact on Ferguson's liberty in relation to having his licence automatically revoked would be quite severe on him.

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