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Belfast man Paul Campbell jailed for perfume theft

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The man stole perfume from Debenhams (Liam McBurney/PA)

The man stole perfume from Debenhams (Liam McBurney/PA)

The man stole perfume from Debenhams (Liam McBurney/PA)

A man who stole thousands of pounds worth of perfume from a Belfast department store in a bid to clear his drugs debt has been jailed for 11 months.

Paul Campbell was also ordered to take coats, television sets, speakers, hairdryers and razors in a series of high-value thefts from retailers across the city, a court heard on Monday.

The 28-year-old, of Pilot Street in Belfast, targeted Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Asda, H&M, Superdrug and Boots during his crime spree.

Sending him to prison, District Judge Peter Magill said: "We are talking theft, after theft, after theft. Shops can't afford this."

Campbell carried out the raids on dates between April 2018 and December 2019.

He admitted 18 counts of theft, along with further offences of burglary and possessing Pregabalin drugs.

The charges included stealing more than £4,300 worth of perfume in total from Debenhams.

Clothing valued at nearly £1,000 was taken from Marks & Spencer, while another £900 worth of razors were also lifted.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Campbell went into an Asda store on York Street, selected two televisions valued at £399 each, and left without paying. Neither set as ever recovered.

Defence counsel John O'Connor told the court his client resorted to thieving after amassing a drugs debt running into several thousands of pounds.

"He was being taken (to the stores), and told to pay off his debt he would have to steal X, Y and Z," the barrister said.

Campbell was then subjected to a paramilitary-style attack last year, sustaining serious mouth injuries, because he wasn't clearing what he owed quickly enough.

Mr O'Connor added: "He's not someone who has been a prolific thief over the course of his record."

But Judge Magill pointed out that Campell has 53 prior convictions.

Imposing a total of 11 months imprisonment, he told the defendant: "You went on a spree of thefts for gain, I'm told you did this in order to pay off debts you had accrued to somewhat nasty elements.

"I haven't counted all this up, but it comes to many thousands of pounds that these stores lost. The only possible sentence is immediate custody."

Belfast Telegraph