Belfast shoplifter who 'stole for food' jailed
A shoplifter who claimed he stole lighters and cosmetics to get food has been jailed for three months.
Ryan McGuckin admitted raiding two stores in Belfast city centre on Monday.
The 26-year-old, of Powerscourt Place in the city, took a packet of lighters and a bottle of fruit juice from Poundland.
He also lifted a quantity of cosmetics from a Semichem shop.
Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court today, McGuckin pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary.
Defence solicitor Shane O'Neill said he client committed the offences so that he could eat.
"He stole these items to sell them on and get food to feed himself," Mr O'Neill submitted.
The lawyer stressed that the goods were all recovered.
However, District Judge Peter Magill highlighted McGuckin's "dreadful record" of 56 previous convictions.
He also pointed out that the defendant had three suspended sentences hanging over him.
"The point about suspended sentences is they ought to be put into effect unless there's a very good reason not to do so, otherwise they are meaningless," Mr Magill said.
Activating a previous term of two months, the judge imposed a further month behind bars for the new offences.
He told McGuckin: "It's a total of three months, and that clears the slate for you."
Belfast Telegraph Digital