Two men have been jailed for stealing almost £9,000 worth of cigarettes from a lorry in Derry.
Conor Hugh Kelly (41), with an address in Downpatrick, pleaded guilty to theft and handling stolen goods between December 12 and December 21, 2012.
John Joseph Nugent, (51), of Clonfaddan Crescent, Belfast was found guilty of theft by a Derry Crown Court jury earlier this year.
The court heard a lorry was delivering goods to a shop on the Culmore Road.
When the driver went into the shop, Nugent was seen taking cigarettes from the back of the lorry.
The 51-year-old left the scene in a vehicle and returned a short time later to take more cigarettes.
Police chased the vehicle, which Kelly was driving, and all the cigarettes stolen were in it.
The court heard that Kelly was also responsible for stealing £3,500 of cigarettes from a lorry delivering cigarettes to a shop in Newcastle, Co.Down on December 12, 2012.
It was revealed to the court Kelly has 54 previous convictions and Nugent 40 previous convictions. The court heard that many of these were for similar offences.
Jailing the men, Judge Phillip Babington said the men had obviously travelled to Derry to carry out the crime. He said it was aggravated by the fact that the stolen goods were of a high value and both men were part of a group ‘who specialised in this sort of offending.’ Kelly was jailed for three years and three months and Nugent for three years and six months.
Both men will serve half their sentence in custody with the remaining half spent on licence.