A grandmother and her two granddaughters who admitted an ‘organised shoplifting spree’ have received suspended sentences.
Jessie Powell (65) and her 28-year-old granddaughter Carol Ann Chantelle McElhinney, both of Ballycolman Estate, Strabane, pleaded guilty to six charges of theft committed in Castlederg and Derry on February 12 and 13, last year.
Another granddaughter, 18-year-old Rebecca McElhinney, of Mount Sion, Strabane, admitted one charge of theft relating to an incident in a chemist in Castlederg on February 12.
Derry Magistrates Court heard the trio stole cosmetics and candles worth £235.65 from Corry’s Chemist in Castlederg.
Powell and Carol Ann McElhinney stole further items from Harry Corry’s, Gordon’s Chemist, Sallys Salon Services, Primark, and Pets at Home worth over £500.
During police interview, Powell initially denied the thefts.
Carol Ann McElhinney also initially denied the thefts but then admitted all three were ‘involved in an organised shoplifting spree’.
Rebecca McElhinney admitted her part in the theft in Castlederg, told police she was sorry for her actions and it wouldn’t happen again.
The court heard that the vast majority of stolen items were recovered and fit for resale.
The court was also told all three women had denied they were part of a shoplifting ring when probation pre-sentence reports were being compiled.
Sentencing the trio, District Judge Barney McElholm said this was an ‘organised shop lifting ring’ and to suggest otherwise ‘was an insult to everyone’s intelligence’.
He added: ‘This was clearly a pre-meditated and organised spate of shoplifting’.
The judge suspended a nine month sentence for three years in the cases of Powell and Carol Ann McElhinney.
He also ordered them to pay a £300 fine each. In respect of Rebecca McElhinney the judge suspended a two month sentence for a year.