Suspended sentence for man who threatened to hit security guard with stolen bottle of vodka

A SHOPLIFTER threatened to hit a security guard over the head with a stolen bottle of vodka after being rumbled in a Ballymena supermarket.


Gareth McKee (21), originally from Larne but now living at Edward Street, Ballymena, had paid for one bottle but not another, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard.

On another occasion he stole meat worth £48 from another supermarket which he sold to get cash as he was a “heroin addict”.

And on a further date McKee hid behind a clothes rail in a store in the town before he left without paying for items worth £51. He told police he had items of clothing over his arm and inadvertently left the store when he was “distracted”.

McKee also offended on Boxing Day when he made off without paying a £72 taxi fare.

Defence barrister Neil Moore said there was “nothing sophisticated” about the crimes with the offences being captured on CCTV and the taxi driver knew McKee.

He said the defendant has had difficulties with drink and drugs and after his benefits were stopped he turned to crime to get money for his addictions.

District Judge Peter King imposed a three months custodial term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered McKee to pay restitution.