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Trio of thugs who damaged pizzeria and stole till after £50 note was checked caged

By Ashleigh McDonald

Three relatives who "kicked off" in a pizza takeaway after their £50 banknote was examined by staff were jailed yesterday for their "thuggish and brutal behaviour".

Deaglan Martin Peter Corbett (29), his 27-year old brother Conor Antony Corbett, and their cousin Nathan Pearse Matthews (23) were sent to prison after they admitted stealing a till containing just under £100 from Domino's Pizza on Belfast's Antrim Road.

The trio had been playing pool in the city centre and on their way home met another man on the street, who they purchased Pregabalin/Lyrica from.

After taking the drug on top of the alcohol they had already consumed, the trio stopped at the pizzeria. They chose and paid for their food, but when a staff member checked the £50 note that was handed over the trio became aggressive.

They jumped over the counter and threw food about the premises. The incident - which occurred around midnight on March 18/19 last year - ended when they ran from the takeaway with the till.

Belfast Crown Court heard that while Matthews, from Firmount Drive in Antrim, was apprehended at the scene, his cousins were arrested at a later stage.

Sending all three to prison, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland spoke of the vulnerabilty of staff who work late shifts at such premises, adding they should be protected by the courts.

Prosecuting barrister Kate McKay said CCTV footage showed the men jumping over the counter and Deaglan Corbett kicking a till screen, which resulted in £1,453.83 worth of damage, adding that as a result of their actions the manager had to close the pizzeria for a period, with a loss of around £2,000 in business.

A barrister acting for Matthews said the footage clearly showed his client "trying to calm his cousins down", revealing Matthews was a young man "in the throes of a significant alcohol problem", adding the incident was not pre-planned, but rather a "foolish and drunken episode".

Deaglan Corbett's solicitor spoke of both his client's mental health issues and his dependency on alcohol - both of which the father-of-four was trying to address. Telling the court his client "has not consumed alcohol since the date of this offence" and is also seeking medical treatment, the solicitor revealed the older Corbett brother has since expressed "disgust at himself".

The barrister representing Conor Corbett said his client was "shocked" when he watched the footage of their "thuggish and brutal behaviour".

He said his client was alcohol dependent, but had been going to AA and "has cleaned up his act" as "this has been a wake-up call for him". Matthews admitted the robbery at the first opportunity, co-operated with police and came before the court with "very little" on his record.

He was handed a sentence of three years and eight months. Deaglan Corbett, from Antrim Close in Belfast, who has 23 previous convictions, and his brother Conor, from Hopefield Avenue in the city, who has 64 previous convictions, didn't plead guilty from the outset.

They were both sentenced to four years and eight months in jail.

All three will serve half their sentences behind bars with the remainder on licence.

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