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Polish men who used special jacket to steal designer sunglasses from Victoria Square avoid jail

By Alan Erwin

Two Polish men who used a specially converted jacket to steal designer sunglasses have been warned any repeat will see them jailed for more than a year.

Maciej Pasternak, 22, and Dawid Mikolowski, 23, each received six-month suspended prison terms for Sunday's raid on Belfast's Victoria Square shopping centre.

The pair, who travelled up from Co Monaghan, took three sets of sunglasses valued at £90 from a Superdry store and tried to leave without paying.

Police arrested them and recovered a magnet used in the shoplifting plot.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the lining of Pasternak's jacket had also been adapted to create an inner pocket.

The two accused, both of The Diamond in Clones, pleaded guilty to charges of theft and going equipped for theft.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott emphasised both men's previously clear records since moving to live in the Republic of Ireland two years ago.

"They came to Belfast yesterday to do some shopping," he said.

"Both indicate it was an act of stupidity on their part and they don't intend to return to this jurisdiction."

Mr MacDermott also accepted: "It was a slightly more advanced technique than one would expect in shoplifting."

District Judge Mark Hamill expressed concern at the pre-planning involved.

Imposing six-month prison sentences, he suspended the terms for three years.

But the judge warned the pair: "If you come back for this again I would give you eight months, and with the six months it would be 14 months in custody."

He also ordered destruction of the jacket and magnet.

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