A teenager accused of raiding a jewellery shop in Ballymena town centre was carrying a bottle of suspected ammonia, it was claimed in court today.
Curtis Dunlop claims he was put under duress by an older man to take part in the alleged theft in Ballymena on Saturday afternoon, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
Dunlop, 18, of Pinegrove Park in the town, is charged with stealing a watch valued at £239.
He also faces a further count of possessing an offensive weapon with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
Ballymena Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Belfast, heard two men targeted Robin Adair Jewellers.
Dunlop allegedly entered carrying a bottle of ammonia and asked to try on a watch.
He then ran out of the shop with the timepiece but was apprehended by a member of the public, according to police.
Footage has also emerged on social media of a second raider apparently running from the store carrying a tray.
A 31-year-old man arrested as part of the investigation was later released from police custody pending further enquiries.
Opposing Dunlop’s application for bail, a PSNI constable expressed concern about the suspected ammonia.
She confirmed, however, that the liquid was never brandished inside the jewellers.
Defence solicitor Ciaran Shiels insisted the bottle had been placed on the ground with no attempt to threaten staff.
Mr Shiels told the court Dunlop provided a full account to police.
“He says he was placed under duress by an older individual… and was given the glass jar containing ammonia shortly before they went into the shop,” the lawyer submitted.
District Judge Mark Hamill described the alleged possession of ammonia as “deeply concerning”.
But granting bail to Dunlop, Mr Hamill ordered: “He’s barred from the town centre of Ballymena.”