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Serial thief jailed for stealing steak and candles from Belfast supermarket

By Alan Erwin

Published 19/01/2016

McNally said he had spent all his money on Christmas presents
McNally said he had spent all his money on Christmas presents

A man with nearly 250 previous convictions was jailed again on Tuesday for stealing steaks and candles from a Belfast supermarket.

Michael McNally only carried out the theft in Tesco because he had spent all his benefit money on buying his mother a Christmas present, a defence lawyer claimed.

But ordering the 29-year-old to serve one month behind bars, a judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court said it would provide some respite to city shopkeepers.

McNally was arrested after stealing two steaks and two candles from one of the supermarket's branches on Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to the theft of goods valued at £32.90.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott told the court he had taken the meat for a meal, and spotted the candles located nearby.

McNally, of Hillman Street in Belfast, only acted because he was waiting for his next Disability Living Allowance cheque, according to his lawyer.

"He didn't have any money because he spent it on buying his mother a Christmas present," Mr MacDermott added.

The court heard McNally has amassed 245 previous convictions - more than half of which involved thefts.

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

He also served a prison sentence for the theft of chocolate bars from Poundland in the Castlecourt shopping complex last year.

McNally had a three-month suspended jail term hanging over his head for other offences.

Although District Judge Fiona Bagnall decided against activating that sentence, she ruled that he must imprisoned for the latest crime.

Stressing the consistency of his law-breaking, she said: "The only thing we are achieving with Mr McNally is giving the shopkeepers of Belfast a bit of a break."

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