Little boy used in shoplifting scam

Enniskillen Court House

Enniskillen Court House

YOUNG children are now being used in attempts to steal from local shops, it has emerged. 

Last week Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard how a small boy, by himself, was caught wheeling a trolley full of hundreds of pounds worth of goods out of a local supermarket without paying. 
The little boy fled when approached by staff, getting into a passing vehicle. A
married couple,  – along with their four-year-old son – were then found in the same vehicle a short distance away.
Police searched the vehicle and further stolen goods were found inside. 
Martina McDonagh (37) and Patrick McDonagh (32), who have since separated, were apologetic for their actions when they appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates Court last week. 
The couple, whose addresses were given as Innisfree Gardens, Strabane, were each charged with attempted theft and handling stolen goods in connection with the incident on June 12 this year.
The case had been listed for contest last Wednesday but the pair changed their pleas to guilty. 
The court heard that on June 12 police received a report of a theft from Asda in Enniskillen after a little boy left the store with a trolley for of goods worth £260 without paying.
When he was approached by store staff he ran off and got into a passing vehicle that made off in the direction of the Dublin Road. 
The vehicle was later located with both McDonaghs inside, along with their four-year-old son.
Sports items to the value of £250 from O’Neill’s in Enniskillen were also found in the vehicle. There court was told these had been goods purchased by another person. 
When Asda’s CCTV footage was examined, the pair were seen filling a trolley full of the goods, and leaving the store. The little boy was then seen coming in and pushing the trolley outside. 
Both defendants were arrested and taken to Enniskillen Police Station. Patrick McDonagh had no relevant previous convictions, while Martina McDonagh has a conviction for a similar offence. 
Defence barrister Brian O’Sullivan said all the items were recovered and, subject to handling charges, there was no financial loss to either store. 
District Judge Peter Pryterch said he would give the pair credit for their guilty pleas, and said he was sentencing them based on the sentence given to Martina McDonagh for her previous offence. 
Judge Pryterch sentenced Patrick McDonagh to four months in prison, suspended for one year.
He sentenced Martina McDonagh to four months in prison suspended for two years, based on the fact she had previously been before the court on similar matters. 
Judge Pryterch said Martina had served over half of a previous suspended sentence, but said he was not activating it as she had a child with a medical condition who needed her care.
He warned the mother to stay out of trouble, telling her it was her “last and only chance” and if she was before the court again both sentences would be activated.

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