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Baby monitor, cockles and toy panda among goods stolen by shoplifter in Armagh and Portadown

The district judge ordered the one month sentence to run concurrently so as not to affect his release date

Home Bargains, Armagh

A Portadown man charged with a litany of theft offences has been handed a one month sentence so as not to affect his release date.

The 44-year-old had been given a three-month sentence in February for similar offences, but had not been allowed to have all the matters dealt with together as there were concerns over his health.

Ryan Ritchie, of Hartfield Avenue, pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where he appeared via videolink from Maghbaerry.

These offences were committed over a two year period; items stolen included a baby monitor, jars of cockles and a toy panda.

The first occurred on December 24, 2016. The defendant left the Asda store on Bridge Street, Portadown, with paying for around £128.91 worth of goods.

Ritchie also stole groceries from Eurospar, Brownstown Road, Portadown, on consecutive days on May 15 and 16, 2017.

The defendant on three separate occasions stole two jars of Parsons Cockles, valued at £3.50, from a Spar store on the Loughall Road, Portadown, on April 22, 29 and 30, 2017.

The next offence occurred on September 29, 2018, when Ritchie stole a baby monitor worth around £70 from Toymaster, Portadown.

On October 13, last year, Ritchie entered the Spar, Loughall Road, and lifted several items before trying to leave without paying.

However, staff recognised the defendant from prior dealings and prevented him from doing so.

The final charge related to the theft of a toy panda from Home Bargains in Armagh valued as £34.99.

Ritchie was identified by police through CCTV footage and was arrested in January this year.

When interviewed, the defendant made no comment.

Prosecution told court that the panda was never recovered.

Court heard that Ritchie was a sentenced prisoner having been ordered to serve three months in custody on February 22.

Defence counsel stated: “It had been Mr Ritchie’s intention to have all matters dealt with together but he has not been able to attend court on prior occasions due to a medical difficulty.

“There were concerns that the defendant had MRSA and on several occasions was not allowed entry to the court’s premises.”

He commented: “These are relatively low-value thefts and are certainly not sophisticated.”

Court heard that Ritchie intended to leave Portadown upon his release. He believed that he had been mixing with the “wrong crowd” in the area and wished to get out.

District Judge Peter King sentenced the defendant to one month in prison on all of the offences which he ordered to run concurrently to his current sentence so as not to affect Ritchie’s release date.

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