Judge fines man who wrecked shop trolleys in bid to steal £1 coins
An unemployed man who claimed he was refused benefits damaged shopping trolleys in an attempt to steal £1 coins, a court heard.
Pawel Jarnoth (45), with an address at Galgorm Road, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to trolleys at Sainsbury’s supermarket in the town on March 9.
He had also been charged with the attempted theft of pound coins, but that charge was withdrawn by a prosecutor.
The prosecutor told the court security staff were informed that a man was damaging trolleys in the car park.
Jarnoth was told to leave, but instead he made his way towards another trolley bay.
Eight trolleys were damaged, which cost £160 to fix, and during a police interview the defendant admitted he was attempting to steal money.
Defence solicitor Emma McCann said her client would take issue with the prosecution case and claimed he only attempted to steal money from two trolleys.
She said Jarnoth came to Northern Ireland from Poland a number of years ago and had been working up until two years ago. Since then he had been refused benefits and was living with his brother, the court heard.
The solicitor said the incident was obviously an attempt to “effect monetary gain”. However, with only £1 in each trolley, she said it would obviously have been of very little benefit to him.
She accepted the defendant had a previous conviction for theft, but said the current offence before the court was at “the lesser end of the scale”.
Ms McCann said her client was hoping to start work again as a labourer.
District Judge Peter King said with the job potentially coming up, the defendant would be able to pay a £140 fine and ordered that he pay £160 compensation for the damage.