Deal with your drug addiction or face prison, judge tells shoplifter
A Belfast woman with an "appalling" record for shoplifting has been warned to continue seeking treatment for her drug addiction and stay out of trouble - or face a four-year prison sentence.
The warning was issued by Judge Gordon Kerr QC to 32-year-old Rosaleen Mary Bradley, from Antrim Road, who appeared in court on two separate sets of shoplifting offences.
Acknowledging his client Bradley has the "worst criminal record for shoplifting I have ever seen", solicitor Joe McVeigh revealed she was battling drug addiction.
Bradley appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday where she admitted a shoplifting spree in the city centre last March, and again last November.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said police were called to the Cult Store in Royal Avenue on March 23, 2015, after security staff stopped Bradley. Staff had seen her removing tags from two items of clothing and making her way from the store. She was searched and the items - which amounted to £254.99 - were recovered.
Also discovered during the search were other items that Bradley admitted stealing the same day. She stole two perfume sets from TX Maxx at Donegall Place valued at £78.99, as well as headphones costing £69.99 from Game on High Street.
When she was arrested and interviewed, Bradley made full admissions and told police she didn't know what had come over her, and apologised.
Bradley admitted a further four offences she committed last November - namely three counts of theft and one of burglary.
Mr Jenkins said that on November 9 last year, the manager of Toys R Us in CastleCourt recognised Bradley as the same woman who had walked behind the store's counter the day before and stolen a children's laptop valued at £90 plus a robot priced at £50.
The manager approached Bradley and asked to look in her bag. During this search, more stolen items were found. They were a Frozen gift set worth £29.99 that Bradley stole from Toys R Us, as well as two bottles of perfume taken from the Molton Brown store on Donegall Place, and perfume amounting to £105 which she stole from Space NK, also on Donegall Place.
Mr Jenkins said Bradley appeared in court with 148 previous convictions, "the majority of which are for shoplifting offences".
Defence solicitor Mr McVeigh accepted his client had a bad criminal record, but said there was a "correlation between her inability to cope with drug addiction and her offending ... the two go hand in hand".
Mr McVeigh also revealed that since last November Bradley has been taking steps to address her addiction.
Branding Bradley's record as "appalling", Judge Kerr told her that he was going to defer sentencing her for the two spates of shoplifting for five months - with conditions imposed.
The judge said Bradley had an obligation to continue with the treatment for her drug addiction, adding "you will undergo a test to see if you are drug free when you come back (to court) in five months time."
Judge Kerr said that if she does this, he would "consider being lenient". However, he warned that if she failed to live up to these obligations, he would send her to jail for four years for the offences committed last March and November.
Bradley was ordered to come back to court for sentencing on September 12.