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Serial thief jailed for stealing from supermarkets says he was desperate due to coronavirus lockdown

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Michael Francis Patrick McNally appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

Michael Francis Patrick McNally appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

PA Archive/PA Images

Michael Francis Patrick McNally appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

A serial thief has once again been jailed for stealing from supermarkets – this time claiming he was desperate due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Michael Francis Patrick McNally, from north Belfast, has 176 previous convictions for theft and just last Monday was given a six month suspended sentence.

But he was back before the same judge and the same court on Saturday where he pleaded guilty to three more charges of theft.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Magistrates’ Court that on May 25 he was seen on CCTV stealing six packets of Spirals crisps, packets of beef and Airwick air freshener worth a total of £59 from Tesco on the Antrim Road.

Two days later he returned to the same store, this time taking fabric softener and more Spirals crisps to the value of £27.45.

Then on Friday he was stopped leaving the Tesco Express on Royal Avenue with meats products concealed in a Tesco bag.

The lawyer said in each instance he was identified by security staff from CCTV footage.

McNally’s solicitor told the court he suffered from a long standing brain injury and had suffered problems in the care system, ending up homeless.

He added that there had been issues with him accessing benefits during the coronavirus lockdown, saying they were an “act of desperation”.

He asked that the 33-year-old, of Clifton Park Avenue, be given credit for his early guilty plea and the circumstances of the thefts.

District Judge Mark Hamill sentenced him to four months on each of the three charges.

He also reduced his recent six month suspended sentence to four months, all to run together.

Belfast Telegraph