Thief carried out a series of break-ins

The Post House Cafe, Waringstown. INLM27-210.
The Post House Cafe, Waringstown. INLM27-210.

A 19-year-old man who carried out a series of break-ins in Waringstown was sentenced to five months in custody last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

He was Andrew Gray, Oaktree Manor, Waringstown, and he admitted a series of offences.

Gray pleaded guilty that between September 9, 2014, and September 10, 2014, he entered Waringstown Presbyterian Church with intent to steal.

He also admitted that between August 23, 2014, and August 24, 2014, he entered the Village Barber, Terrace View, with intent to steal, he entered Ruddells Farm Shop and stole cash, he entered the Post House Café with intent to steal and he entered Traders D Butchers with intent to steal.

Two criminal damage charges relating to doors at two premises were also admitted.

The court heard that, between August 23 and 24, four premises in Terrace View were broken into and a small amount of money contained in charity boxes was stolen. There was also damage to internal doors. A fingerprint was found on a plastic bag.

Between September 9 and 10 the Presbyterian Church at Mill Hill was broken into and an office door was kicked open and a cabinet prised open.

Nothing was reported stolen but a fingerprint was found on a metal tin and it matched that of the defendant. The plastic bag was examined and there was a further match.

Gray was arrested and said he had been sleeping rough and had taken 15 diazepam tablets in 45 minutes.

The damage at the church amounted to £190 and the damage at the Post Office Café was £86.40.

A solicitor for Gray said that in the pre-sentence report he admitted abusing alcohol and illicit drugs. He added that on this occasion he had been drinking and taking diazepam and had no recollection whatsoever of what happened.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said the report assessed Gray as a high likelihood of re-offending.

The solicitor said Gray had moved away from negative peer influence and had not come to police attention since he was arrested in December 2014.

Judge Bates described what happened as ‘a rampage through Waringstown involving several community businesses and a church as well’. He said the offences went ‘well beyond the pale’ and church boxes had been ransacked.

The judge said that while Gray had a limited record that ‘without any shred of doubt in my mind’ it justified a custodial sentence.

He sentenced the defendant to five months in custody on each offence, to run concurrently, and he added ‘it will not be suspended’.

The judge told Gray he had caused ‘terror and apprehension’ in the community.

He also ordered him to pay sums of £190 and £86.40 in compensation for the criminal damage.