Prison for Cookstown serial thief who stole booze

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A thief who targeted a local filling station for booze twice in one day has been jailed for one month.

David Cunningham, 19, from Riverside Drive, Cookstown, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of theft.

The court heard how on December 27, 2015, Cunningham stole a bottle of Magners Cider to the value of £2.99 from a local filling station. He returned to the same filling station later in the day, and this time stole more cider and a bottle of West Coast Cooler to the value of £7.99.

Staff reported the incidents to police, who later came across the defendant with a bottle of cider in a red and black backpack.

He confirmed that the bottle of cider was his, and also confirmed that CCTV images from the store’s off-license department were of him.

However, he told police that the footage was to blurred to prove that he had stolen the alcohol, and that it was a coincidence a similar bottle of cider was in his possession.

His defence solicitor told District Judge John Meehan that he accepted that Cunningham’s criminal record would influence the judge’s decision in how to punish Cunningham for the latest offences. However, in mitigation, he said that although Cunningham had committed a number of repeat offences, they had occurred over a short period of time.

He went on to accept that the defendant had shown a propensity for theft offences.

The court heard how Cunningham had been in custody since November of last year.

District Judge John Meehan sentenced Cunningham to fourteen days in jail for the first offence, and for a further month in jail for the second charge of theft, with both sentences to run concurrently.

However, in view of the inordinate amount of time it had taken to bring the charges to court, Judge John Meehan said the jail sentence should run concurrently with the current time he is serving for previous offences.