The case was heard at Newry Magistrates' Court.
A THIEF whose offending dates back to 1990 has received a suspended prison sentence after she took “the full spectrum” of steaks from a Newry supermarket.
Donna Bell, 49, with an address in County Londonderry, was convicted of theft at Newry Magistrates’ Court.
On 6 April this year at about 2pm, the defendant approached the meat counter at Fiveways supermarket in Newry, where she was served with ribeye, sirloin, T-bone and fillet steaks, coming to a total of £165.52.
The butcher gave her a basket in which to hold the meat and she placed a bag of ice over the top of them.
When staff checked the till takings at around 2.45pm, they discovered the meat had not been paid for. Upon reviewing CCTV, staff had observed Bell leave with the goods before being collected outside in a Ford Focus.
Subsequent enquiries were made with the last registered owner of the car and it transpired the defendant had been a passenger in the vehicle on the date in question.
The defendant presented herself to a police station where she was arrested and a search carried out at her home, which located the meat in freezers in her kitchen.
When interviewed, Bell said she went into the shop with “good intentions”. She went to get her money but it wasn’t there so she “freaked out and panicked, went out of the shop and didn’t mean to take them”.
The court was told this latest conviction represents the 42nd of its kind by the defendant, stemming from 1990 through to the present day.
Defence counsel for Bell told the court she had been in Newry on a day trip with her carer and had withdrawn the money previously in order to purchase various items throughout the day.
“Somewhat unusually, she did present to a police station to say she had taken the meat without paying and indicated she did want to pay for it at that stage,” continued her defence.
“It would be the defence’s submission that but for those actions, this matter perhaps wouldn’t be disposed of at this juncture and Mrs Bell has saved both police and the court considerable time and effort.
“She does live a relatively solitary existence and wishes to offer further apologies today.”
District Judge Eamon King, commenting in sentencing, said: “Ribeye, sirloin, T-bone, fillet - the full spectrum.”
He imposed four months imprisonment on the defendant, suspending it for two years.