Belfast Telegraph

Serial thief jailed for stealing mobile phone from Belfast barber shop

By Alan Erwin

A serial thief who stole a mobile phone from a workman renovating a barber shop has been jailed for eight months.

Lee Whelan took the device valued at £500 after entering the north Belfast business as a customer in March this year.

The 22-year-old, of Weavershill Court in the city, also targeted off licences and a convenience store in separate thieving offences.

In a further incident he fled without paying a £5 taxi fare in April.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he admitted charges of theft, burglary, making off without paying, obstructing police and possession of an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Stephanie Boyd set out how he stole two bottles of wine valued at £13.58 from a Spar in September this year.

That incident followed a previous series of shoplifting incidents all committed on the same day earlier this year.

The court heard he stole two bottles of vodka worth £39 from a Tesco store on the Antrim Road on May 18.

Later that day he entered a Wineflair on the Oldpark Road and took alcohol valued at £27.

He also stole £12.30 worth of crisps and snacks from a Spar on the Antrim Road.

Mrs Boyd said when Whelan was detained by police a metal bar was found up his sleeve.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner said drug taking was behind all his client's actions.

"He was incoherent when arrested," the lawyer submitted.

Mr Toner also disclosed that Whelan sustained a brain injury when he fell off a motorbike as a teenager.

"From that moment his life took an exceptional course, it's self-destructive behaviour," he added.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall responded that all of the thefts, taken together, "isn't going to impress the court".

Imposing eight months imprisonment for the phone theft, with lesser terms to run concurrently for the other offences, she said: "I don't see any point in (ordering) compensation."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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