A homeless man with 221 previous convictions was sentenced to five months in prison for stealing three coats, when he appeared at Derry Magistrate’s yesterday.
The court heard that when arrested Damien Joseph Young told police he stole the coats; “Because the weather was bad and I needed it to keep warm.”
The incident happened at the Pound Shop on Waterloo Place on October 12.
Fifty six year old Young was found in the store room by the manager.
While he was escorting the defendant from the premises, the manager noticed the green coat the defendant was wearing, belonged to him.
Instructing him to take it off, he then noticed that Young was also wearing a black hoody of his underneath, under that, was a third coat which was also taken from the staff room.
While the coats were recovered, £40 cash, an NIE card and a bankcard were not.
A defence solicitor for Young said: “The judge knows this man’s history well and it is one of multiple convictions almost identical to this.”
District Judge Barney McElholm said: “He wont address his addiction problem despite the fact he has 221 convictions. Had he gone to any charity shop they could have given him a coat. He knows full well why he went into the store room at this shop.
“I wish I could do something other than send him to prison, we tried fining him but he wont pay, we tried probation but he wont go.
“If I could send him to a facility to treat his addiction I would, but no such facility exists.
“The public are entitled to feel safe and this was a burglary.
“As he has had countless oportunities in his past I have no choice but to sentence him to five months imprisonment.”