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Two men who stole £700 worth of sex toys from Belfast shop handed five-month suspended sentences

By Alan Erwin

Published 12/05/2015

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Two men have been given five-month suspended prison sentences for stealing £700 worth of sex toys from a shop in Belfast.

Gary McCann, 26, and Aaron McCrory, 29, took a rucksack full of stock from the adult store where both worked.

The pair also returned and broke into Soho Books, taking £800 in cash from the register.

Both defendants were due to contest the allegations at Belfast Magistrates Court today.

But instead they each pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and theft from the Gresham Street premises in October last year.

The court heard McCann, of Bray Street in Belfast, worked as counter staff, while McCrory, from Caledon Street in the city, was employed as security.

CCTV footage showed them filling a rucksack with sex toys and paraphernalia belonging to shop boss Ian Brown before leaving without paying at the end of their shift.

They were recorded coming back the same night and entering without permission. Cash was stolen during that raid.

The two accused had been planning to fight the case by claiming they acted under duress.

Defence counsel Paul Bacon, for McCrory, detailed how Soho Books was allegedly selling so-called legal highs at the time.

The barrister described those products as an "absolute scourge on society".

He added: "The very next day this shop closed."

Separate criminal proceedings have been brought against the business for allegedly supplying a dangerous product, namely Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

Neither McCann nor McCrory face charges in connection with that prosecution, taken by Belfast City Council.

Lawyers for both men stressed that they had been candid during police interviews.

Passing sentence, District Judge George Conner said the offences warranted a prison sentence.

But giving the defendants credit for their guilty pleas, he decided to suspend the five-month jail terms for 12 months.

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