PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
An unemployed man who claimed he was refused benefits and had been living with his brother has been fined for damaging shopping trolleys in Ballymena in a bid to steal £1 coins.
Pawel Jarnoth (45), with an address at Galgorm Road, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to trolleys at Sainsbury’s supermarket in the town.
Arising out of the March 9 incident he had also been charged with the attempted theft of pound coins but at court on Thursday that charge was withdrawn by a prosecutor.
The prosecutor told the court security staff were informed that during the afternoon of March 9 a man was damaging trolleys in the carpark and the defendant was initially told to leave but instead he made his way towards another trolley bay.
Security staff followed and found the defendant had a set of pliers.
Eight trolleys were found to have been damaged which cost £160 to fix and during a police interview the defendant admitted he was attempting to steal money from the trolleys.
Defence solicitor Emma McCann said her client would take issue with the prosecution case and claimed he only attempted to steal money from two trolleys.
She said Jarnoth came to Northern Ireland from Poland a number of years ago and had been working up until two years ago but had been “refused” benefits and was living with his brother.
The solicitor said the “broad daylight” incident was obviously an attempt to “effect monetary gain”.
However, with only £1 in each trolley, she said it would obviously have been of little very little benefit to him.
She accepted the defendant had a previous conviction for theft but said the current offence before the court was at “the lesser end of the scale”.
Ms McCann said her client was hoping to start work again as a labourer.
District Judge Peter King said with the job potentially coming up the defendant would be able to pay a £140 fine and also ordered that he paid £160 compensation for the damage.