A MOTHER-of-six who stole Hallowe’en costumes from an Enniskillen party shop has received a suspended jail sentence.

Elizabeth Joyce (39), of Trasna Way, Lisnaskea, pleaded guilty to stealing two costumes to the value of £26.98 belonging to Party Allsorts, Belmore Street on September 27, 2016.

Fermanagh Magistrates Court heard that, at 2.30pm, two females and a number of children entered the shop, before taking the items without paying.

The costumes were concealed in clothing and in a large bag, the court heard.

One of the females was identified as the defendant, the court heard.

During an initial interview, she made no comment.

However, upon being shown CCTV footage of the incident, she agreed that it was her but denied stealing anything from the shop.

The court heard that, during the summer of 2016, the defendant had also committed a series of other thefts from stores in Enniskillen using the same ‘modus operandi’.

When these offences had been dealt with in October last year, Joyce had received a suspended sentence, along with two other co-accused.

On hearing the outline of the facts in this case, district judge, Nigel Broderick, observed that the defendant had been part of an “organised shoplifting spree”.

When he asked defence solicitor Tommy Owens what was different about this incident, the lawyer replied: “It was a silly thing to do, stealing items of party stuff.”

But Mr. Broderick told the court that he wouldn’t categorise the offence as “silly”, adding that it was premeditated.

Explaining the background to the offence, Mr. Owens said his client, a mother of six, had no money and wanted to get her children some items.

In mitigation, the solicitor said Joyce hadn’t come to adverse police attention since then.

District judge, Mr. Broderick, observed that he was satisfied the custodial threshold had been crossed in this case, before adding that he would take a similar approach to her previous sentencing in October 2017.

The judge said that, if this offence had been dealt with along with the other offences, she would have received a suspended sentence.

As such, Mr. Broderick imposed a six-month jail term, which he then suspended for two years.

The judge also ordered Joyce to pay £26.98 in compensation.

Describing the defendant as someone with a “lot to lose”, he added: “You are are the mother of a large number of children. If you go into shops and steal again, you will be going to prison.”