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Shopped in her tracks Dublin thief caught for 180th time while on booze and beauty crime spree

The total of thefts include unknown value of beauty products from McCartan's pharmacy, clothing and beauty items from Home Bargains valued at £187, household electric items from Curry's PC World and £155 of vodka from Lidl.

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Margaret Cawley was given a suspended sentence

Margaret Cawley was given a suspended sentence

Margaret Cawley was given a suspended sentence

A Fagin-like career criminal's cross-border shoplifting spree stealing booze, beauty and electrical goods at a retail park came to an end when she was caught with a trolley full of vodka.

Master thief Margaret Cawley (30), of Daletree Place, Tallaght in Dublin - who has 179 previous shoplifting convictions - admitted four counts of theft after being stopped with her booty of booze at a Lidl store in Newry this week.

Cawley was previously sentenced in Dublin in 2018 for conning her way into an 84-year-old dementia sufferer's home along with a young child, before stealing the elderly woman's handbag and that of her 75-year-old visiting sister.

During her latest offence in Newry, Cawley had two underage girls who are now also charged with theft.

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Kathleen Cash was fined

Kathleen Cash was fined

Kathleen Cash was fined

Cawley further admitted common assault of a chemist staff member as she bolted with her stolen spoils of beauty products from the Fiveways shopping complex on the Armagh Road.

The total of thefts include unknown value of beauty products from McCartan's pharmacy, clothing and beauty items from Home Bargains valued at £187, household electric items from Curry's PC World and £155 of vodka from Lidl.

All of the shops are in Damolly Retail Park, Newry, and across the road at Fiveways, close to the A1 bypass to Dublin.

Getaway car driver and passenger - married couple, Hugh (40) and Kathleen Cash (36) of Sundale Avenue, Tallaght - also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, namely razor blades.

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Hugh Cash

Hugh Cash

Hugh Cash

Kathleen Cash further admitted to using a Ford Focus without a licence or insurance.

Hugh Cash, a recently released prisoner from Cloverhill Prison who the court was told was already a disqualified driver, also pleaded to possession of weapons - a claw hammer and a hurley.

The adult defendants all pleaded guilty to the offences at Newry Magistrates Court after an overnight arrest at the scene of the multiple shop thefts.

Defence barrister Conor Byrne had requested that the plea be indicated at the earliest opportunity for Mr and Mrs Cash and Cawley to allow the youths to receive cautions as they did not want the minors to have a criminal record.

District judge Eamonn King replied: "The adults didn't seem to have much cause for concern for the children getting criminal records when they went on a shoplifting spree... no doubt they were being instructed."

Prosecution told the court that police were tasked to the retail park at 4.40pm after Cawley was stopped by security at the Lidl store with 10 bottles of Smirnoff vodka.

Officers spoke to the defendant and located a suspect Ford Focus in the car park where the Cash couple were in possession of stolen razor blades from the south as well as the hammer and hurley.

They also had stolen electrical items from PC World and Home Bargains as well as an amount of beauty goods from McCartan's Chemist at the nearby Fiveways shopping complex.

A follow-up investigation at the pharmacy found that Cawley and the two youths had earlier been in the shop and fled after security caught on to the thefts.

As they tried to escape, Cawley grabbed the female staff member by the shoulder and barged her way out the door.

Mr Byrne said Mr Cash had no record in the North and gave reason for the weapons.

"He accepts that it was not appropriate to have the claw hammer and the hurley stick, but he states that there had been threats made against him," said defence.

Mr King sentenced the three adults to nine months suspended for two years.

A destruction order was put in place for the weapons.

Mrs Cash was also disqualified from driving for one year and fined a total of £215.

Defence said that Mrs Cash "had no cash", to which the judge advised: "She is gonna have to get on the phone."

The case against the youths was adjourned to November 20 with £200 and the condition that they do not enter Newry accept for court appearances.

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