Police caught a man red-handed stealing from a charity clothing bank in the middle of the night in Kells and now a court has ordered him to do unpaid work.
A barrister for Saulius Martinavicius (25), of Grant Avenue, Randalstown, said the defendant accepted it was a “mean offence” which was depriving people less fortunate than himself.
Previously at Ballymena Magistrates Court the defendant admitted charges of theft; going equipped with theft with a hammer and a crowbar; and using a vehicle without insurance.
And now he has been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work as part of Community Service and was given six penalty points for the insurance matter which brought him over the 12pts limit, leading to a six months road ban.
The offences were detected at Grove Road, Kells, at 1.30am on July 17 last year.
A prosecuting lawyer told the earlier hearing in January police on patrol saw a parked Fiat van which they established was uninsured and when they spoke to the defendant he told them he was “taking clothes to a clothing bank”.
However, when they searched the van they found clothing from the clothes bank along with a crow bar and hammer.
Defence barrister Michael Ward said the defendant thought it was a “recycling bank” and his client said he could get 40pence per kilo for old clothes.
Said Mr Ward: “It was his view rather than these being recycled that he could perhaps make a modest income”.
The barrister said the defendant used the crow bar and hammer to gain access to the clothing bank.
He said Martinavicius, who lived in Lithuania, had been in Northern Ireland since 2007 and had been employed full-time in a range of jobs but last year when he was out of work he was “attempting to fill a gap in his income and strayed over the boundary” with the theft.
District Judge Peter King had asked for a pre-sentence report and said in January it was a “very mean” offence and as it was a charity bin it was “akin to taking a charity box”.