Football star is a ‘thief’

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A Portadown man was told he was “professional thief” when he was sentenced to four months in prison last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Sean McGonnell (22), Victoria Terrace, Portadown, appeared in court by way of videolink from Maghaberry prison.

He admitted the theft of clothing valued at £64.99 from a retailer in Portadown on July 5 this year.

The court heard police received a report of a female shoplifter who had been in the store with a male.

When they went out the alarm sounded and McGonnell took four items and ran off in the direction of Portadown.

When he was arrested he denied any part in the theft and said it was to fund the female’s heroin addiction.

A barrister representing the defendant said he was a sportsman who had played for Newry City, Armagh City and county hurling.

He added that McGonnell had a significant record and was serving a custodial sentence.

The barrister explained that on the day in question the goods were stolen so the defendant could pay rent arrears of £600. His girlfriend did not have a heroin addiction.

Deputy District Judge, Mr Neil Rafferty, said this was professional shoplifting.

Imposing the custodial sentence and a £15 offender’s levy Judge Rafferty told the defendant he was “a professional shoplifter” and his sentences would “just get longer and longer from here on in”.