'Serial shoplifter' claimed she stole items including a face mask from a shop at Belfast International Airport because 'queue was too long'

'Serial shoplifter' claimed she stole items including a face mask from a shop at Belfast International Airport because 'queue was too long'

A WOMAN with 14 previous shoplifting cases on her criminal record who stole items including a face mask from a shop at Belfast International Airport claimed she didn't pay for the items because a queue was too long.

Sharon Wray (50), of Castletown Court, Strabane - appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via a video link from Lanzarote.

She pleaded guilty to theft of items worth £31 from WH Smith at the airport on October 3, 2021.

A prosecutor said the items taken included a bottle of 'Summer Fruits', a face mask, cleansing wipes and two bracelets.

She was found at a departure gate with the stolen goods.

When interviewed Wray said she took the items "due to teh queue being too long" and she claimed her behaviour was due to a "mixture of alcohol and prescription medication that had been consumed the day before".

District Judge Nigel Broderick described her as a 'serial shoplifter' in breach of two suspended sentences.

A defence lawyer said a pre-sentence report showed she had shown little remorse and there was a high risk of re-offending.

He said there had been a lengthy period of time without any offending between 2006 and 2016.

The court heard the defendant was before the court from Lanzarote and the defence lawyer said her partner owns a property and Wray "goes there as frequently as possible to get away from the problems that present themselves here in Strabane".

Judge Broderick told the defendant: "There is every good reason why you should go to prison because you are in breach of two suspended sentences. Not without some hesitation what I am minded to do is defer sentence with a condition that you must not re-offend".

The judge deferred sentencing until June 2022 when he wanted an updated pre-sentence report.

  • Main picture: Belfast International Airport.