Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man who stole 61p hand gel sent to jail

By George Jackson

A Belfast man who stole a bottle of hand gel valued at 61 pence from a Super Drug store in Derry last month was sent to jail on Monday.

Joseph Ferguson, who is originally from Belfast but has an address with the Simon Community at Bond's Hill in the Waterside area of Londonderry, was on licence from prison when he committed the theft from the Ferryquay Street store on June 9.

He had failed to turn up in court earlier this month for sentencing for the theft which he had previously admitted committing. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest and he appeared in custody at Derry Magristrate's Court on Tuesday.

A prosecution solicitor told Deputy District Judge Paul Conway that CCTV footage from inside the store saw Ferguson putting the bottle into his left hand jacket pocket and leaving the store without paying for the gel. He was detained by security staff and arrested when the police arrived.

Ferguson, who had 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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