Northern Ireland

Belfast sex toy thieves stole £700 in goods

Two Belfast men who stole £700 worth of sex toys have been given suspended prison sentences.

Gary McCann, 26, of Bray Street, Belfast and Aaron McCrory, 29, of Caledon Street, took a rucksack full of stock from a city shop.

They also broke into Soho Books, Gresham Street, and took £800 in cash.

The men had planned to contest the charges at Belfast Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but pleaded guilty to burglary and theft.

The court heard McCann worked at the counter and McCrory was a security man in the city centre shop.

CCTV footage showed them filling a rucksack with sex toys and paraphernalia belonging to shop boss Ian Brown before leaving without paying at the end of their shift last October.

They were recorded coming back on the same night and entering without permission. Cash was stolen during that raid.

The men had been planning to fight the case by claiming they acted under duress.

A defence lawyer for McCrory said Soho Books was allegedly selling so-called legal highs at the time.

The barrister said these were an "absolute scourge on society".

"The very next day this shop closed," he said.

Separate criminal proceedings have been brought against the business for allegedly supplying a dangerous product, Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

Neither McCann nor McCrory face charges in connection with that prosecution which has been taken by Belfast City Council.

Lawyers for both men said that they had been candid during police interviews.

The judge said the offences warranted a prison sentence, but he gave the two men credit for their guilty pleas and suspended the five-month jail terms for 12 months.