by Q Radio News
A second man was remanded into custody today (thurs) accused of trying to steal an ATM.
Appearing in the dock of Downpatrick Magistrates Court, 25-year-old Darren Porter was charged with burglary of Carlisle’s filling station, causing criminal damage to the petrol station canopy endangering life and aggravated vehicle theft of the front loading digger, all allegedly committed on 18 November this year.
Porter, from the Listooder Park in Saintfield is the second man to be charged after 26-year-old Adrian Boyd, of not fixed abode, appeared in court earlier this week.
In court today (thurs), a detective constable said she believed she could connect Porter to the offences and that with 124 precious convictions, police had objections to bail amid fears that he would reoffend or interfere with witnesses.
She told the court how a trailer had been stolen from Croob Park in Ballynahinch while CCTV footage from a quarry close to Carlisle’s garage showed the digger and a VW Passat leaving at 05.10 am.
The officer described how the stolen digger was used to ram the ATM around 30 times and when that didn’t work, the driver used it to ram the front of the shop.
Two men went inside and “opened every til,” said the officer adding that they stole scratch card, cash and cigarettes.
The owner of the filing station arrived at the scene and saw two men getting into the VW Passat with a third male getting into the digger but when he tried to drive if, he crashed into the forecourt canopy causing it to fall down.
The court heard the stolen digger was found abandoned close to the quarry where it had been stolen from while the Passat was found burnt out around 200 yards away from Porter’s home.
According to the detective, Porter was seen running from the burnt out car and when police searched his home, they recovered clothing which matched clothing seen on CCTV footage which had been seized.
She also claimed that when Porter’s mobile phone was examined, it showed “that he had been in contact with Boyd.”
Under cross examination from Porter’s defence solicitor, the officer agreed he had “fully co-operated” with police but the lawyer told the court his client “denied all of the offences.”
He submitted that with “no forensic evidence to link” Porter to the attempted theft “at this stage,” he could be freed on bail with proposed address in Templepatrick.
Refusing bail however, District Judge Amanda Brady said the police investigation is “fresh and ongoing” and she shared police concerns about the risk Porter committing further offences or interfering with witnesses.
Porter will appear again via video link on 12 December.
Meanwhile, a woman has been charged with two counts of handling stolen goods and one count each of attempting to pervert the course of justice, driving with no insurance and driving whilst unaccompanied.
She is due to appear at Downpatrick Magistrates' court on Wednesday December 18.