A MAN admitted stealing over £1,000 worth of alcohol, including Champagne, from supermarkets in Newry and Larne, the Magistrates Court in Ballymena was told.
Laurentia Costinel-Rotaru (30), with an address listed as no fixed abode in Belfast, had taken alcohol worth £330 from Asda in Larne on January 5 this year and £750 worth of booze from Sainsbury's in Newry two days later.
The defendant, originally from Romania, also admitted entering the UK on February 1 this year in breach of a Deportation Order.
He appeared at court via video link from prison and had the assistance of a Romanian language interpreter.
A prosecutor said ten bottles of vodka were taken from Asda which were not recovered and at Sainsbury's the defendant had taken five bottles of champagne; two bottles of Hennessy brandy and ten bottles of Jack Daniel's whiskey, which again were not recovered.
When the defendant left the store he was "picked up" by a male in a vehicle.
When interviewed the defendant initially claimed to police he had been "made to carry out the thefts by another male".
When police became aware the defendant was in breach of a Deportation Order he claimed his ID documents had been taken from him by that male and that he had "carried out the theft under duress".
The court heard the defendant had a clear record.
The prosecutor said after sentencing the defendant would be "transfer to immigration custody after he completes any sentence" and be deported "back to Romania".
A defence lawyer said the defendant came here six months ago seeking work, without success.
The solicitor added: "He has his father in Romania. He is anxious to get home, he has been in custody since February 2".
District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "These are serious maters, given the high volume of the alcohol stolen and a breach of the Deportation Order".
The defendant was jailed for three months.
- Main picture: General image of Champagne.