Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man with 300 convictions steals £12 Iceland steaks because he is penniless, court hears

By Alan Erwin

A serial thief with nearly 300 previous convictions stole steak and snacks because he was penniless, a court has heard.

Michael McNally's mother has now pledged to provide him with daily meals in a bid to prevent any future shoplifting, his lawyer revealed.

Ordering a conditional discharge for the latest offences, a judge said he wasn't going to send the 30-year-old to jail for stealing a Pot Noodle.

McNally, of Hillman Street in Belfast, was arrested following raids on stores at the Cityside Retail Park on Saturday.

He pleaded guilty to stealing four steaks worth £12 from Iceland, and taking the Pot Noodle and Jaffa Cake biscuits valued at £2.19 from Tesco.

A further charge of possessing a small quantity of herbal cannabis was also admitted.

McNally has now amassed 295 previous convictions - including 154 for theft.

The latest offences were committed a month after serving his last prison sentence.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard they were minor thefts committed to ensure he had something to eat.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott argued McNally has mental health issues which hindered attempts to obtain benefits.

The lawyer said his client was left with no money and stole to feed himself.

Fresh attempts are now being made to ensure no similar re-offending, the court heard.

Mr MacDermott said McNally's mother has undertaken to feed him at least once a day.

Following submissions the judge confirmed McNally will be subject to the conditional discharge for one year.

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