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Three Newry sisters-in-law plead guilty to shoplifting offences

Court heard they paid for some items described by the district judge as 'the essentials' - namely Smirnoff, Magners, crisps and chocolate

Tesco store

Three Newry sisters-in-law who came together to shoplift from a local store have pleaded guilty – but two must wait to learn their fate.

Court heard that the trio did pay for some items which the district judge branded “the essentials” – namely Smirnoff, Magners, crisps and chocolate.

Mary Teresa Ward, 44, of Main Avenue, and Margaret Ward, 40, of Parkhead Crescent, pleaded guilty to theft at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The third defendant, Brigid Ward, 32, of Nursery Road, was not in attendance but her legal representative stated that she would be entering a plea next week.

Mary Ward also faced a further charge of theft.

Prosecution outlined that on December 22, police received a report of thefts from Tesco Newry at around 5.20pm that day.

Officers viewed CCTV from the store and were able to identify one of three women involved as Mary Ward.

Police attended the home of this defendant and spoke to her along with the other two women involved.

During interview, Brigid Ward accepted she had left the store without paying for £26 worth of goods but said she had paid for crisps, chocolate and Smirnoff.

District Judge Eamonn King remarked: “The essentials.”

It was heard that Margaret Ward also accepted the offence of not paying for £26 worth of goods but claimed she had purchased two crates of Magners.

Mary Ward also during interview admitted to leaving the store without paying for items to the same value.

Prosecution stated this defendant had also stolen £158.27 worth of goods from Fiveways in Newry on November 23.

On this occasion Mary Ward was once more identified as the perpetrator through CCTV.

During interview, she accepted she had left without paying after receiving news that her mother was in hospital.

Defence counsel for Margaret Ward, stated: “She had bought items at the self-checkout but not scanned everything. It was an opportunistic theft and she instructs she does not know what came over her.

“She very swiftly made full admissions, your worship may be concerned by her record as she has two relevant entries but the most recent post-dates this offence and she has not come to the attention of police since.”

Mary Ward’s counsel said: “This was a very unsophisticated offence and it was inevitable that she would be connected. She does have a record for acts of dishonesty but that was some time ago.”

District Judge King stated: “Mary Ward, you have no previous for shoplifting, I will give you one week to get the restitution of £158.27, and because that was your first offence if you do that I will give you a conditional discharge for 12 months.

“For the second offence I am ordering that you pay a fine of £150 along with the offender’s levy of £15, within four weeks.”

Margaret Ward was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years.

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