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Jail for serial thief who stole thousands of pounds worth of goods to pay drug debts

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A judge was told the 29-year-old has been subjected to paramilitary attacks because of the money he owed

A judge was told the 29-year-old has been subjected to paramilitary attacks because of the money he owed

A judge was told the 29-year-old has been subjected to paramilitary attacks because of the money he owed

A serial thief who stole thousands of pounds worth of goods from stores in a bid to pay off drug debts has been jailed for nine months.

Paul Campbell took clothes, alcohol and a bicycle as part of a series of high-value raids on traders across the Greater Belfast area.

A judge was told the 29-year-old has been subjected to paramilitary attacks because of the money he owed.

Campbell, of Pilot Street in Belfast, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft and a further charge of attempted theft.

The stealing spree was carried out over a period between September 2019 and October 2020.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he took ten boxes of Smirnoff Vodka worth £1,920 from a branch of Tesco in Newtownabbey.

Campbell also stole clothing valued in excess of £500 from Go Outdoors - also in Newtownabbey.

In other incidents he raided a Co-Op store for £140 worth of meat, and took a £350 bike from Halfords at Boucher Road in Belfast.

He carried out two separate thefts at Marks & Spencer stores in Belfast and Newtownabbey on the same day, stealing clothes valued at £680 in total.

Campbell also admitted the theft of a pizza and attempting to steal £220 worth of handbags and perfume from Debenhams.

Defence barrister Turlough Madden acknowledged the high-value of the goods involved, some of which were not recovered.

Despite his client's lengthy record, he argued there had been few dishonesty and theft incidents before 2019.

"The issue for Mr Campbell is that he has developed a drug addiction and got himself into significant debt," counsel said.

"Unfortunately due to the debt he's had significant paramilitary attacks and was (offending) to pay off the debt."

Mr Madden added: "I appreciate that's not a reasonable excuse, but it's some context."

Passing sentence, District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered: "There will be a total of nine months custody, bearing in mind his record and the range and value of the offending."

Belfast Telegraph


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