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Serial shoplifter avoids jail term over latest thefts described as an 'attempt to escape from reality'

By Alan Erwin

Published 26/05/2016

A man with nearly 250 previous convictions has avoided being sent back to jail for randomly stealing steaks and scarves
A man with nearly 250 previous convictions has avoided being sent back to jail for randomly stealing steaks and scarves

A man with nearly 250 previous convictions has avoided being sent back to jail for randomly stealing steaks and scarves.

Michael McNally was given a two-month suspended prison sentence for shop thefts described as possibly an attempt to escape from reality.

At Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday the 29-year-old admitted stealing three scarves and hand cream worth £81.80 in total from Avoca in the city centre. He carried out the raid on Tuesday - just four days after being released from prison.

McNally, of Hillman Street in Belfast, also pleaded guilty to the separate theft of 11 steaks valued at £44 from a Co-Op in the city on two dates in February.

His previous record includes stealing 12 tea towels from a souvenir shop in Belfast 24 hours after being granted bail last August.

He also served a jail sentence for the theft of chocolate bars from Poundland in CastleCourt last year.

Defence solicitor Sean McCann said: "It's sheer random decision-making, which I think is possibly trying to get away from reality."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall imposed a two-month sentence for all the offences, but decided to suspend the term for a year.

Belfast Telegraph

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