Jailed for stealing from shop once owned by his uncle

A 38-year-old man has been jailed for two years for stealing money from a shop once owned by his uncle.

Patrick McCrossan, whose address was given on court papers as Linkside Park, Strabane, pleaded guilty to theft on December 15, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard McCrossan walked into the shop after 7:30pm, wearing a hoodie with his hood up, and walked behind the counter.

He took £500 from the till and walked back out of the shop.

McCrossan was identified after CCTV was viewed of the incident and police seized CCTV from nearby Damien House.

During police interview, McCrossan told officers he had been drinking all day and didn’t remember much about what happened and had no knowledge of any theft.

McCrossan was then shownCCTV but denied it was him.

It was revealed McCrossan has an “extensive record”, with 67 previous convictions, and is in breach of a suspended jail term for theft.

Defence barrister Stephen Chapman told the court there was “no violence, no threat of violence and no injuries caused” during the theft.

He added that the theft was not pre-meditated and was committed after McCrossan had been drinking all day.

Mr Chapman said his client had a third level education and worked in the caring profession until he was involved in a serious car accident.

He told the court following the accident McCrossan’s “life descended into addiction to alcohol and drugs and offending behaviour”. In a probation report the 38-year-old claimed this car accident had “wrecked his life”.

Jailing McCrossan, Judge Philip Babington said the theft was “brash and must have been frightening and concerning for the shop assistant because he treated the place as his own”.

McCrossan will spend 12 months in custody with the remaining 12 months spent on licence.