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Newtownabbey man jailed for trying to steal £480 worth of Liverpool jerseys

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William McCooney was sentenced to eight months in prison.

William McCooney was sentenced to eight months in prison.

William McCooney was sentenced to eight months in prison.

A man has been jailed for trying to steal nearly £500 worth of Liverpool football tops as part of a shoplifting spree across greater Belfast.

William McCooney also targeted fashion stores and perfumeries, taking large quantities of stock in a series of raids.

The 41-year-old, of Innisrush Gardens in Newtownabbey, repeatedly assaulted security staff who attempted to stop him.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday he was ordered to serve eight months in prison.

McCooney pleaded guilty to seven thefts, one attempted theft, five drugs offences, five common assaults and disorderly behaviour in a bookmakers.

His offences were committed over a period between April and October last year.

He mounted the bid to steal Liverpool FC shirts worth £480 from DW Sports at the Abbey Centre on July 20.

The same day he carried out another theft at a nearby B&M Bargains, taking bed sets valued at £67.

Prosecutors said McCooney also went into a betting shop and lifted a chair when he was refused winnings, placing a member of staff in fear.

His other thefts included £297 of clothes from TK Maxx at Abbey Centre, and two shoplifting incidents at The Perfume Shop.

McCooney also targeted Boots twice, stealing cosmetics products valued at a total of £175.

A further, undisclosed quantity of clothing was taken from House of Fraser in Belfast.

Admissions were made to possessing quantities of cannabis, amphetamines and Pregabalin drugs.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd accepted his client faced imprisonment for the thieving spree.

"He's very keen to clear the decks," the barrister said.

"This is a man who was finding it difficult to cope and abusing drugs, but there was nothing sophisticated about the incidents and no high-level of violence or planning."

Imposing a total sentence of eight months behind bars, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: "A considerable amount has has been taken over a relatively short period of time."

Belfast Telegraph