A PROLIFIC thief who was “banned from every shop” in loyalist areas of Belfast by the UVF is again behind bars after being convicted of stealing a tracksuit top.
Stephen Casement pleaded guilty to one count of theft after stealing an Adidas tracksuit top worth £75 from JD Sports at Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor, Co Down.
During a brief hearing at Laganside Magistrates Court on July 23, he was sentenced to two months in Maghaberry Prison for the crime.
The career criminal previously claimed to have been banned from all shops in loyalist areas of Belfast when he was arrested by cops who found a drugs factory at his Avoca Street home in the Oldpark area of the city.
The 43-year-old was jailed for six months earlier this year for cultivating cannabis after the police raid on the property in May 2020.
At the time Casement told cops the plant pots in his home contained “peppers, broccoli and cabbage because he was starving”.
“He stated that he had been banned from every shop by the UVF, so he took to growing his own food,” his lawyer told a previous court hearing.
While Casement’s shops claim appears outlandish, loyalist sources previously told Sunday Life it’s true. Insiders also revealed the criminal, whose dad was UVF brigade staff member Ned Casement, who died in 2007, survived a gun attack by the terror gang in 2015.
“Two masked men carrying guns tried to get into his house a few years back when he was living in Ballysillan. Stevie saw them coming and escaped. The UVF men smashed the house up instead,” a source said.
Casement was targeted after being spotted at Maghaberry Prison visiting his friend Dee Madine, who was serving a 10-year prison sentence for the attempted murder of UVF chief Harry Stockman.
Madine stabbed the loyalist 11 times in a supermarket after accusing him of involvement in the killing of his ex-prisoner friend Bobby Moffett, who was gunned down on the Shankill Road. Stockman was arrested over the 2010 daylight execution but freed without charge.
Last summer Casement was caged for 16 months for the theft of £2,800 worth of dolls from a toy shop.