Man admits pretending to be a police officer in ‘dead dog scam’ on elderly man in Ballymena

A MAN has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation by pretending to be a police officer in a ‘dead dog scam’ on an elderly man in Ballymena.

Neil McDonald (41), with an address listed as Drumtara in Ballymena, appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court, sitting in Antrim, via a video link from a solicitor’s office in Belfast.

He admitted two charges of fraud by false representation by pretending to be a police officer in relation to October last year.

Two thefts charges accusing him of stealing cash worth a total of £440 from the victim were withdrawn by prosecutors.

The defence lawyer was Stephen Law who said a pre-sentence report would be needed.

A previous court heard victim was an “elderly gentleman”.

The full details of the background to the case were not outlined to this week’s court.

However, the charges are in connection with two reports of theft in an incident connected to the Toome Road area of Ballymena last October.

A police spokesperson had said at the time: “At around 9pm on Thursday 10th October a man called to a house in the area. The elderly male occupant inside the property was informed by the man that he had run over his dog and veterinary costs had to be paid.

“Upon hearing this, the occupant made his way to a nearby cash machine in the Antrim Road area to withdraw a sum of money. The male, who accompanied him then made off upon receiving the money.

“On Friday 11th October, the male occupant received a phone call stating the dog had passed away and money was needed for the burial.

“A sum of money was withdrawn by the man and left at a property in the town as instructed.

“Police were notified of both incidents and enquiries have established the details regarding the dog were false.”

Another court, earlier this year, was told defendant had come to the attention of “certain persons” in the community and the property where McDonald’s had been living was attacked when he was in hospital.

The court case has been adjourned to mid-November.

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