A nineteen years old man who admitted looting a local shop which had been damaged in a ram raid in the Galliagh area of the city last year, has been jailed for six months at Derry Crown Court.
Robert McCool from Castle Street stole a charity box belonging to Children For Charity as well as cigarettes valued at just over £1,000 when he looted the Spar Shop at Fairfield Road on January 27 last year.
McCool, who had no previous convictions, was jailed for six months for the offence at the local Magistrate's Court last September. He appealed the sentence in the County Court today before Judge Philip Babington who said he had no hesitation in affirming the sentence and added that he had considered increasing it.
A prosecution barrister told Judge Babington that on the night in question a Ford Focus car was driven three times into the front of the shop damaging the security shutters as well as the front door.
McCool was not in the car but arrived soon after the ram raid and went into the shop three times stealing the cigarettes and the charity box. The barrister said the damage to the shop, which was caused by McCool, had been estimated at just under £3,000.
"The entire incident was recorded on CCTV. The appellant was identified because his blood was found on smashed glass at the entrance to the shop as well as on the kiosk containing the cigarettes. Neither the cigarettes nor the charity box have been recovered", she said.
Defence barrister Stephen Chapman said McCool was an active and opportunistic looter. He said the car used in the ram raid had been removed from the scene by the police before McCool arrived. At the time McCool was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol.
"He was walking home at the time and took the opportunity to go into the shop. Because of his condition at the time he doesn't remember a lot of what happened. He was seventeen at the time and has no previous convictions and he admits his involvement and he has been off drugs for the last eight months", he said.
Judge Babington said McCool had engaged in "quite appalling behaviour", particularly in stealing the charity box.
"Local shops such as this one in the Galliagh area of the city are there to serve the community and that depends on local shopkeepers being protected. You took advantage of the fact that other people had basically damaged the front of the shop to such an extent that you could go in and help yourself. You stole £1,000s worth of cigarettes which have not been recovered and then you stooped so low that you stole a charity box for a children's cancer charity.
"I am quite satisfied the District Judge was correct in imposing the sentence of six months and I have no hesitation at all in affirming that. Indeed I considered increasing it", he told McCool.
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