High Court told serial thief to appeal £5 food theft conviction

A man jailed for nine months for stealing £5 worth of food and drink is mounting a legal bid to overturn his conviction, the High Court heard today.

Carlo Holmes will appeal a finding that he carried out the theft at a Spar supermarket in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

The 63-year-old has now amassed 115 convictions, including 22 burglaries, 30 thefts, and five counts of handling stolen goods, prosecutors said.

He was handed the prison sentence last month after being convicted of raiding the store on the Derry Road.

A judge was told CCTV footage showed him handing two cans of soft drink and baked goods to a co-accused who put them in his coat pocket.

The total value of the items taken during the incident on November 7 was £5.35.

Holmes, whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, is seeking bail pending an appeal against his conviction, scheduled for hearing in early January.

Opposing his release, Crown lawyer Conor Maguire said the issue was not the scale of the latest alleged offence.

“It’s the fact this applicant, as disclosed by his criminal record, is a prolific thief and burglar,” counsel said.

“When he’s out of custody he offends routinely, that is the concern of the prosecution.”

Holmes’ lawyer accepted his criminal record will always be there, be claimed the risk of re-offending could be managed.

She also cited the worsening health of the defendant’s wife, and stressed the relatively low value of goods allegedly stolen.

But Mr Justice Horner responded: “I don’t think there would be any question of your client being put in jail but for his absolutely horrendous criminal record.”

Adjourning the bail application, he said he wanted time to assess legal papers submitted as part of the case.