Lawnmower thief was caught on camera

After simply pushing a lawnmower from the front of a Lurgan store a 28-year-old man went back and tried to do the same again but this time he abandoned the mower nearby.

Tuesday, 9th August 2016, 7:31 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:59 pm

James John Bell, Hill Street, Lurgan, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court last Friday by way of videolink from Maghaberry prison.

For interfering with a motor vehicle on February 22 this year he was sentenced to one month in prison.

He admitted the theft of a lawnmower valued at £370 from McKerr’s Hardware on March 22 and the theft of another mower, valued at £387.50 on April 9 from the same store. For each of these offences he was sentenced to three months in prison.

He was also given two months for unlawful possession of herbal cannabis.

All the sentences are to run concurrently making a total of three months in custody.

The court heard that on February 22 a motorist saw the defendant, who had his sleeves down over his hands, pulling at the front passenger door of his car. The owner said ‘that’s my car’ and the defendant ran away. He was later identified on CCTV. Bell gave no reason why he was trying to get into the motor vehicle.

He was also arrested in relation to other matters and a small amount of herbal cannabis and a grinder were found on him.

On March 24 at 8.55am the manager of McKerr’s reported that a lawnmower had gone missing from the front of the store.

CCTV showed the defendant simply pushing it away. The mower had not been recovered.

On April 9 Bell took another mower but when he realised he had been seen he abandoned it in Coronation Street. He escaped but was identified on CCTV.

A barrister representing the defendant said this was his client’s first meaningful incarceration in Maghaberry and it has had a detrimental effect on him.

He added that Bell had a ‘horrendous record’ but this has been a sobering experience for him.

The lawyer said his client just wanted to get the matters resolved so he can get on with his life.