Belfast Telegraph

Serial shoplifter took clothes from Salvation Army

By Nevin Farrell

A former heroin addict who admitted a string of shoplifting offences - including swiping clothes at a Salvation Army charity shop - has been given a suspended sentence.

Louise Pewtner (45), of Henry Street, Ballymena, took clothing worth £17.50 from the Salvation Army on March 28 this year.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday the goods were recovered and were fit for resale.

She was handed a 10-month jail term, suspended for two years, for what the judge described as "this string of petty thieving".

Sentencing had been adjourned from May this year to see if Pewtner could "turn a corner" in her life but she was caught stealing food and household items worth £21.78 from B&M Bargains on July 28 this year.

On the same date she struck at the Salvation Army shop, Pewtner had also taken hair straighteners and hair extensions worth £109.49 from Boots and admitted causing criminal damage to a box containing the straighteners.

She also took clothing worth £69 from Dunnes Store where she had previously stolen clothes worth £26 on an earlier date.

In April this year she had stolen an £8 pillow from Primark and in March she had stolen make-up and medication from Boots in Belfast.

She pleaded guilty to all incidents and was also sentenced for handling a stolen bottle of vodka in Co Armagh.

Defence barrister Thomas McKeever told Thursday's Court his client was an ex-heroin user but is now drug-free.

He said at the time of the offences the defendant had no money and she was "annoyed with herself" that she committed the thefts and is now trying to change her ways.

In May, District Judge Peter King had deferred sentencing until September to see if Pewtner had the ability to "turn a corner".

He told her yesterday: "You don't need me to tell you how disappointed I am that you were not able to stay out of trouble."

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