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Armagh man who took £2.50 bottle of Coors after handing over just £1.40 change admits theft

Following day he was arrested for offensive weapon charge after police saw him take crowbar from sleeve

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who shortchanged a local store when buying a bottle of beer has been handed 50 hours of community service.

Court heard these offences were committed around the anniversary of the 26-year-old’s mother’s passing away which his barrister said went some way to explaining them.

Jody Curry, of Barrack Hill, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and theft at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

These offences were committed over two days in December of last year.

Court heard that on December 19, staff at Emerson’s Supermarket, Armagh, called police to report a theft.

They told officers the defendant went into the off-licence and tried to bully staff into letting him take a bottle of beer.

Curry then lifted a Coors bottle, to the value of £2.50, before handing staff £1.40 in change and leaving.

On December 20, police received reports of a male walking with an iron bar in the vicinity of Gaol Square in Armagh.

Witnesses claimed the defendant was being abusive and was shouting.

Curry was spotted by police nearby and as they approached him he removed a crowbar from his sleeve discarding it on the ground.

The defendant was subsequently arrested for both offences.

When interviewed, Curry claimed that he had given enough money to pay for the bottle of beer at the Armagh store.

He also said that he had been on his way to a friends house to give them the crowbar when he was stopped by police.

Defence barrister Bobbie Rea stated: “This is a young man with an alcohol problem but he is now engaging with a number of auspices.”

Court heard that upon his release Curry had found a living arrangement, through the help he has received, in Markethill.

Mr Rea said: “This will bring an end to the transient lifestyle he had become accustomed to and that has brought about much of his offending.”

Court heard these offences occurred on the anniversary of the death of the defendant’s mother.

Mr Rea stated: “Mr Curry spent much of his life in foster care. A short time after he was reunited with his mother in December 2014 she passed away due to a terminal illness.

“This had a negative impact on him as it would anyone. This is not an excuse but unfortunately goes some way to explaining these offences.”

Curry was sentenced to an enhanced combination order consisting of 50 hours of community service and two years of probation.

Deputy District Judge Brian Archer warned the defendant: “If you break this order once you will be going to prison”.

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