Heroin addict stole over £300 of perfume

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A man who admitted stealing over £300 of aftershave from a Lisburn shop is to be sentenced.

Thomas Allen (30), of Riverdale House, Ballybog Road, Dunmurry admitted the theft charge, which occurred on August 9.

Police on patrol in the city centre in Chapel Hill observed a male wearing a black jacket; he “swerved” to avoid walking towards them going into a book shop. When police entered the premises they found the black coat and a search revealed £337 worth of perfume, which was stock belonging to Menary’s.

Prosecution said that during interview Allen admitted taking the items.

A defending solicitor told Lisburn Magistrates’ Court that Allen had a tragic upbringing.

Defence said: “He was living in a children’s home in his youth and suffers from depression.” The court heard that Allen suffers from addiction to heroin.

District Judge Rosie Watters said: “He looks terrible, when he walked through the door I knew he was a drug user. You’re killing yourself. What am I supposed to do?”

Defence said: “There are steps being taken to admit him (for hospital treatment). There are concerns that any custodial sentence will interfere with any help he will obtain. The real cause (of his offending) is his heroin addiction.”

Judge Watters said prisoners should be able to get medical treatment in prison, defence agreed: “In the current criminal justice system that is not the state of play.

Judge Watters added: “He looks really rough, He has no means of income and in order to get his next fix he will commit another offence.” She said if Allen “wanted to beat this addiction” he would “have to take all the help that is there.”

Allen said: “I am trying. I am seeking help, I am cutting down on what I am taking.”

The case was adjourned until December 1 to give Allen a chance to seek help with his addiction. “I will take a dim view if you don’t take that help,” Judge Watters warned.