The case was heard at Banbridge Magistrates' Court, sitting in Newry Courthouse.
A BANBRIDGE woman who claimed she stole hundreds of pounds of goods from Tesco after being prompted to by an off duty security guard has been fined at the local court.
Bernadette Melissa Hillen, 22, of Hawthorn Gardens in the town, was convicted of theft and attempted theft at Banbridge Magistrates' Court.
The court heard that on Monday, 13 September last year, police received a report from Tesco on Castlewellan Road in Banbridge of a theft.
Hillen had left the shop with a trolley containing £582 worth of goods and had returned and tried to leave with a second trolley containing items with a total value of £635, but was stopped from doing so by staff.
She then left Tesco in a white Mercedes vehicle which was registered to her.
Police investigations of CCTV found Hillen speaking to a man who was reportedly employed as a security worker but was not on duty on that date at Tesco. It appeared she set off door alarms as the security man stood around the exit of the store.
A prosecutor said there “appears to be some degree of pre-meditation where a helper was working in conjunction to try to make it look like a fault with the system”.
When spoken to by police, she admitted the theft but said she was put up to it by the man posing as a security guard.
Defence counsel said his client had come into the store and was approached by an employee who said 'do I know you or does my wife know you?'.
Hillen’s defence continued: “He says, ‘go ahead, take whatever you like’. The whole sequence is captured on CCTV. He approaches her and points out a few things he wants her to take for him.
“She arrives home and her husband is appalled. He fires everything out in the bin and said, ‘we’ll get no luck out of this’ and goes straight down and pays the value of the goods.”
It was disclosed to the court the male who had spoken with Hillen in Tesco had been spoken to by police but denied any involvement and had not been charged.
District Judge Eamonn King fined her a total of £365, including a £15 offender levy, warning Hillen: "If she ever comes before the court again for an offence of dishonesty, she'll get a custodial sentence."