Community service for man who stole toys from Tesco

Court image
Court image

A 36-year-old man who stole children’s toys from a Portadown store was given 120 hours’ community service last Friday at Craigavon Court.

John Paul Joseph Whitla, Hillcrest Manor, Craigavon, admitted the theft of the toys, valued at £12, from Tesco.

The court heard that police were called to the Meadow Lane store after Whitla was seen on CCTV walking around the shop with a pram.

He put toys on top of the pram and paid for an item but did not pay for three other toys.

Whitla offered to pay for them when he was stopped and claimed it was a genuine mistake on his part.

A defence barrister said he had already paid £147.50 to Tesco civil recovery team.

He explained that Whitla was subject to a community service order and had completed 109 of his 160 hours.

The lawyer suggested that a further community service order would be the way to deal with this matter.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said the offence was at the lower end of the scale although Whitla still maintained he did not intentionally set out to shoplift.