Bought pizza with bank card he had found in the street

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A man with a lengthy criminal record claimed he found a bank card on a Larne street and thinking his “luck was in”, used it at Winemark and to get pizza by using the ‘contactless’ payment feature.

Hugh Gerard McConnell (42), now with an address at a hostel in Londonderry, was living in the Simon Community in Larne at the time of the offences in November.

The defendant pleaded guilty at Ballymena Magistrates Court to one charge of theft and five of fraud by false representation.

A prosecutor said that on November 4 last year police received a report from the card owner that he lost the card during a night out and payments unauthorised by him had been made. The total spend was £103.

McConnell was identified through CCTV. He told police he found the card in the street and claimed he “went straight to Tesco” then ordered a pizza to be delivered to the Simon Community.

Defence barrister Ben Thompson said the card was found on the street and McConnell “thought his luck was in”. The lawyer said the offences were “terribly silly”.

District Judge Peter King told McConnell he needed to stay away from the area. The defendant said he preferred his new accommodation and claimed: “I’m keeping my head down”.

Judge King described the offence as “opportunistic”.

The defendant was placed on probation for a year.