Woman ‘shoplifted to help ill father in Romania’

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A woman claimed she went on a theft spree in Ballymena to steal clothing and shoes to sell on so she could send money back to help her “seriously ill” father in Romania.

The shoplifting took place in Ballymena’s Tower Centre and Fairhill Centre, the town’s Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

Denisa Alexandra Camelia Ion (20), of Galgorm Road, Ballymena, took clothing worth £20.20 from Primark in the Tower Centre on March 4 last year.

On the same date she swiped shoes and a handbag of unknown value from Next in the Fairhill.

She also took clothing worth £191.92 from H&M and clothing of an unknown amount from New Look, both in the Fairhill, between February 22 and March 5 last year.

A prosecutor said Ion had the offences detected when she was found with a handbag containing stolen clothing.

A follow-up search of her home uncovered more stolen clothing in her bedroom.

The prosecutor said clothing with labels still on was fit for re-sale.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said full admissions were made during interview.

He said his client came to Ballymena from Romania to work in a factory.

The solicitor said she then decided to steal goods and sell them and send the money back to Romania to assist her “seriously ill” father who needed medical treatment.

Mr Ballentine said the defendant got more work and that income was sent back to her homeland.

District Judge Peter King fined Ion a total of £400 and ordered her to pay £85 compensation for the stolen goods which were not fit for re-sale.