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Jail for former employee who stole tyres from Portadown car dealer

Defence said he has had 'very significant difficulties' with alcohol addiction around the time of the offence as his marriage had broken down in 2019

Craigavon Courthouse

A man who stole £350 of alloy tyres from his former employer has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Tomas Chlebus, of Cline Road, Banbridge, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court via videolink from Maghaberry.

The 37-year-old was charged with theft and using a motor vehicle without insurance.

The court heard that in November 2021, police received a report of a theft at Charles Hurst in Portadown. The report described two males in tracksuits on the property. On arrival at the scene, the males had made off.

Upon contacting Charles Hurst the next day, the manager stated that four alloy tyres had been stolen.

The manager later explained that they had CCTV and were able to identify one of the males in the footage as the defendant, who had been in earlier that day viewing cars and had previously worked for the business for a period of 18 months. They also provided registration details for the vehicle that was driven by the defendant.

Police located the defendant and conducted an interview regarding the theft. Enquiries also showed that the vehicle he had been driving was uninsured. The vehicle was seized.

The defendant’s defence solicitor told the court that his client had entered a guilty plea at the “very earliest” opportunity, adding that he has had “very significant difficulties” with alcohol addiction around the time of the offence, as his marriage had broken down in 2019.

District Judge Bernie Kelly noted, however, that his record stated he has had alcohol difficulties since 2007, which is 12 years before his marriage breakdown.

The defence responded that his alcohol addiction had worsened during that period, but that the defendant has been absent from alcohol since June of last year.

It was further noted that the defendant had also been sentenced in Banbridge Magistrates’ Court, for the theft of a bottle of alcohol committed on the same day.

District Judge Kelly commented that the case involved an element of a “breach of trust” given that he was a former employee of the dealership.

For the theft charge, Judge Kelly imposed a sentence of six months in custody, and for the no insurance charge a sentence of one month, to run concurrently with the six months.

In addition to the sentence, he was disqualified from driving for a period of 12 months with immediate effect.

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