Drug addict had a stick during failed attempt to steal from shop belonging to DUP Assembly Member’s dad

Ballymena Court

A DRUG addict with a stick whose bungled attempt to steal money from a shop belonging to a DUP Assembly Member’s dad in Ballymena was captured on security cameras has been been put on Probation for a year and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Cory McKergin (25), of Queen Street in Ballymena, was originally charged with the attempted robbery of cash from a Vivo shop in the town’s Harryville area on July 19 this year but that charge was withdrawn and replaced with a charge of the attempted theft of cash from Robert Frew – father of politician Paul Frew.

McKergin pleaded guilty to attempted theft.

When police went to the defendant’s address they found two bottles of vodka – believed to have been stolen in a different incident. McKergin also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday that at 6.40am on Friday July 19 this year the PSNI received a report of an attempted theft at a Vivo shop where the defendant entered with a “wooden stick” and demanded money from the till before fleeing empty-handed when the request was refused.

Police went to McKergin’s address and found two bottles of Smirnoff Vodka still with security tags on them.

McKergin told police he entered the shop to get money to fund his “drug addiction” and at no time had he intended to hurt anyone.

McKergin said he knew the vodka was stolen and that he had bought it for £5 from another person.

The court heard McKergin stole goods worth £281 from DW Sports in Ballymena on May 21 this year.

After that incident the defendant told police he owed money to “drug dealers”.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said McKergin was addicted to prescription drugs and committed offences to “pay off debts”.

A previous court heard images from the Frew’s shop incident had been posted on social media the day it happened.

That was part of an appeal to the public to help identify the culprit.

Thursday’s Court was told McKergin then contacted police about the matter saying he couldn’t remember what he had done.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he hoped McKergin was starting to address his issues, as if he didn’t and keeps appearing in court, the sentences will just “go up and up”.

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