Suspended sentences for four Donegal people following 'shop lifting spree'

Defendants charged with handling stolen goods

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Three women and a man from Donegal have admitted 'a shop lifting spree' in Derry City Centre.

Winifred Hegarty (36) of Ard Clochan in Carndonagh and Patrick Reilly (22) from Halting Site, Ballintra in Donegal were both charged with three counts of the theft of goods on March 3.

Linda O'Reilly (30) and Nicole O'Reilly (21) both of the Halting Site in Ballintra were charged with handling stolen goods on March 3.

All four pleaded guilty when the charges were put to them.

The court heard that police received a report of four people involved in the theft from stores in the city centre.

At 3.10pm police received reports of four people making their way through the city centre carrying large bags.

Police located the four in a bar in Waterloo Street sitting at a table surrounded by bags with no proof of sale.

At interview all except Nicole O'Reilly admitted the offences.

Defence solicitor Maoliosa Barr for Hegarty said his client suffered from depression and other issues.

He said she came to Derry to do some shopping but not shop lifting.

He said that his client told police she had not taken her medication and 'wasn't thinking straight.'

Defence solicitor Kieran Harkin for the other three accused said they had all pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

He said Nicole O'Reilly had denied the charge but on receipt of legal advice admitted the offence.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said he found it difficult to believe that all four had 'on the spur of the moment' decided to engage in a shoplifting spree.

He imposed a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 18 months on all four.

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