Drunk thief rang shop to apologise for stealing beer

Enniskillen Court House

Enniskillen Court House

A 28-year-old man who stole a box of beer from a shop and then rang a few days later to apologise and offer the money has been convicted of theft.

Fergal Patrick McLaughlin, of Woodview Crescent, Trillick, was caught on CCTV lifting the box of Carlsberg and walking out of the shop without making any attempt to pay for it.


McLaughlin was handed 80 hours of community service. On March 29, this year, at about 12.30pm, the defendant went into the shop where he got a box of Carlsberg priced at £9.99 and paid using his bank card.

Then a few hours later, at 3.20pm, he returned to Costcutter and took another box of Carlsberg and left without paying for it.

Police checked the CCTV images and identified the defendant walking through the store with the box of beer and walked out through the door without paying for it.

On April 3, police went back to the shop where the owner told police that McLaughlin rang the store to say sorry and asked if he could pay the item he had stolen and returned to the shop later that evening with the money.

He made himself known at the shop and the owner believed the apology. A note book interview was carried out where he admitted to the theft.

The court heard there is a relevant record.

Defence solicitor Michael Fahy said his client was no stranger to court nor this type of offending but added there was a three year gap his offences.


He was convicted of attempted theft in 2001 and was later handed a suspended sentence later that year which he later breached.

“It’s not the amount but the particular nature of the theft,” Mr Fahy added.

“He had the funds in his bank account. But he made a decision to go to the store to leave without paying for them.

“He is well known in the community, it’s a small rural community. He had the decency to ring the shop and offer an apology and offered to pay for the stolen item.

“Alcohol manifested itself and all sense went out the window and he embarked on a foolish escapade.”

Deputy District Judge Terence Dunlop told McLaughlin: “You have a problem and it’s up to you to beat that problem.”

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