No clean getaway | 

Serial thief with nearly 400 convictions facing jail after stealing fabric softener

Michael McNally's previous record includes multiple thefts of steaks and assorted food products, washing powder, hair dye, and even a tip jar

Belfast Magistrates Court

Alan ErwinBelfast Telegraph

A serial thief with nearly 400 criminal convictions could be jailed again for stealing fabric softener from a convenience store in Belfast.

Michael McNally pleaded guilty to taking the detergent when he appeared at the city’s Magistrates Court today.

Releasing the 35-year-old on bail to await a sentencing report, District Judge Ted Magill warned him: “I’m not making you any promises.”

McNally, of Cliftonpark Avenue in Belfast, has now amassed more than 390 convictions, with half of them for shoplifting-related offences.

His previous record includes multiple thefts of steaks and assorted food products, washing powder, hair dye, and even a tip jar from a coffee shop.

Many of those crimes were described as acts of desperation, with past references also made to McNally having suffered brain damage from abusing solvents as a youth.

Last month he received a suspended prison sentence for another thieving incident.

But he was arrested again for stealing fabric softener valued at £19.50 from a Spar store on the Cavehill Road at the weekend.

McNally made immediate admissions when the new charge was put to him in court.

Based on a six-week period to prepare a pre-sentence report, defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott sought bail for his client.

Judge Magill agreed to release McNally “with considerable reluctance” because of that timeframe.

Adjourning the case, he told the defendant: “You are not to go into that Spar on the Cavehill Road.

“Let’s see what the pre-sentence report says, but if you don’t keep bail conditions the likelihood is you will be staying in custody.”


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