Gang flees through fire escape at Tesco in County Antrim with cosmetics worth £1,200 but staff follow trail of dropped items and recover stock of £400

Gang flees through fire escape at Tesco in County Antrim with cosmetics worth £1,200 but staff follow trail of dropped items and recover stock of £400

SEVERAL males swept more than £1,200 worth of cosmetics and razors from shelves and bolted from Tesco in Crumlin, County Antrim, through a fire escape but staff followed a trail of dropped items and recovered stock of over £400.

Details emerged as one of those involved - Stephen Anthony O'Neill - appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old defendant, of Bawnmore Park in Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to the theft which happened in September, 2019.

A prosecutor said police received a report of a "high value theft of beauty and cosmetic products".

She added: "Security staff reported that a number of males had made off via the fire escape with cosmetics and razors concealed in bags".

The prosecutor said a staff member "then followed a trail of cosmetics to the railway bridge at Main Street in Crumlin and was able to retrieve £469 of products which were fit for re-sale. £781 of products had not been recovered".

The court heard police then saw three males in Newtownabbey leaving a vehicle and they made off from police and were not apprehended at the time.

The vehicle was searched and inside two bags were filled with cosmetics which matched the items stolen from Tesco.

O'Neill was arrested and was identified as being involved.

Defence barrister Neil Moore said the defendant is currently serving a sentence for a "serious assault".

At the time of the Tesco offence, the lawyer said O'Neill has been leading a  "transient drug-fueled lifestyle".

He said it appeared the cosmetics may well have been sold on to be used to purchase drugs.

For the theft the defendant was given a four months jail sentence.

  • Main picture: Tesco in Crumlin. Image: Google Maps.