A number of items valued at over £200 and stolen from two stores in Rushmere Shopping Centre were found below a children’s pram.
Milda Zalcaite (24), Hanover Street, Portadown, was given suspended prison sentences for two shoplifting offences when she appeared last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.
At an earlier court she admitted stealing a Thermoscan worth £44.99 from Boots on June 14 this year and the theft of clothing valued at £179.80 from TK Maxx on the same date.
Sentencing in the case had been adjourned so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.
The court heard that at 4.50pm attention was drawn to the defendant when she was in Sainsbury’s and the stolen items from Boots and TK Maxx were found below the child’s pram.
When interviewed she said she needed new clothes and could not afford them and she needed the thermometer for her child. She showed remorse for what she had done.
Mr Joe McDonald, representing the defendant, said his client had no previous convictions, had co-operated fully with police and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He added that she was ashamed of her behaviour but the biggest shock for her was when social services became involved and she realised her child was at risk.
District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said the defendant thought she could ‘nick and thieve’ and that there wouldn’t be ramifications for her infant child especially as she was a single parent but she had put her liberty at jeopardy.
She added that she would ‘take with a pinch of salt’ what Zalcaite had said in the pre-sentence report.
“I don’t accept this was a moment of madness,” said the judge. “I can tell you as a mother of six you do not need a thermometer worth £44.99.”
Judge Kelly said her hands were tied as community service and probation had been ruled out.
She certified the case as so serious there was only one penalty she could impose and gave the defendant three months in prison, suspended for two years, on each charge to run concurrently.