Man pleads not guilty to charges connected with alleged ‘dead dog’ scam on elderly man in Ballymena

A MAN has pleaded not guilty after being charged with two counts of theft and two counts of fraud in connection with an alleged ‘dead dog’ scam on an elderly man in Ballymena.

Neil McDonald (41), whose address was listed on the charge sheet as Drumtara, Ballymena, is accused of the theft of £360 cash and another amount of £80 cash from a man in October last year.

The particulars of the fraud charges are that the defendant ‘dishonestly made a false representation, namely, being a police officer, with the intention by making the representation, to make a gain for yourself or another or to cause loss”.

The defendant appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday via video link from a Belfast solicitor’s office.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said the papers in the matter were “voluminous”.

He said it was a “serious case”.

The barrister said the alleged victim is an “elderly gentleman”.

The case was adjourned to the end of October to fix a date for a contest.

No further details regarding the alleged background to the case were given to the court.

However, the charges are in connection with two reports of theft in an alleged incident connected to the Toome Road, 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“A sum of money was withdrawn by the man and left at a property in the town as instructed.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.”

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