Husband and wife caught shoplifting


A HUSBAND and wife who have seven children have been warned by a judge, who suggested they were a “shoplifting team” that they “have a lot to lose” if they re-offend.
Charles Ward  (36) and Ellen Ward (37), both of Carnmore Rise in Enniskillen, each pleaded guilty to two separate counts of theft at Enniskillen Magistrates Court last Wednesday.
The first charge related to an incident on Sunday, November 20 last when police were contacted by a member of the public who’d witnessed the couple shoplifting in Eason’s, Enniskillen.
Charles Ward held a bag, while Ellen ward put things into it, and then the pair left without paying. Police viewed CCTV footage which showed the couple entering the shop and stealing the items, which included decorations and candles worth a total of £94. They were fit for resale.
Then, on April 3, the owner of Pillbox Pharmacy in Irvinestown, who said the couple had been in browsing in the store for several minutes, and the owner became curious about their behaviour. When they checked CCTV it showed them concealing items then leaving without paying for them.
When police searched the couple’s home they located the items, which were worth £95 and were not fit for resale.
Defence barrister Ciaran Roddy said Mr and Mrs Ward had brought compensation to court with them to pay for the items that weren’t fit for resale. He said both defendants, who have seven children together, had limited criminal records, but Ellen had two relevant convictions.
District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if they were “a shoplifting team”. Mr Roddy pointed out Mr Ward had no relevant previous convictions.
“Why are they doing this, going into shops and stealing things? Do they not realise they’re putting their liberty at risk by doing this?” asked the judge, who also asked who would look after their seven children if they were sent to prison.
Judge Broderick said there was a clear pattern where they seemed to think they could go into a shop and steal what they want. He sentenced both defendants to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, warning them they had a lot to lose if they offended again.

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