Drug user was ‘so out of it’ he couldn’t remember trying to smash way in to pharmacy to steal medication

AN addict was “so out of it” he claimed he couldn’t remember attempting to burgle a pharmacy in the town to steal drugs.

Paul David Martin, of Drumachose Park, Limavady, appeared by video link from Maghaberry Prison before Coleraine Magistrates Court.

As well as pleading guilty to attempting to burgle Bovally Pharmacy at Anderson Avenue on January 18 this year, 29-year-old Martin admitted four charges of causing criminal damage to vehicles and possessing Class C drug Xanax on the same date.

He also pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs in Roeview Park, Limavady, failing to stop, failing to remain, failing to report an accident and possessing Class B drug cannabis and Class C drug Diazepam on March 6 this year.

The court heard how police had received a report at 12.30am on January 18 that a male had been acting suspiciously before cycling away.

Damage was caused to a van and car parked in Drumachose Park. Later that morning another car window was damaged and police officers called to the scene spotted a fourth parked vehicle had been vandalised.

Pharmacy staff concerned by a suspicious male outside the premises the previous day discovered an attempt had later been made to gain entry.

“Footprints and scratches” were found on the door of the pharmacy as well as matching footprints in mud and a bloodstain.

Later that day Martin’s mother alerted police to say he had been put out of the house and was in a shed consuming drugs and “acting mad.”

Police found Martin in the shed suffering from a small cut to his hand. He was under the influence of drugs and a bike was recovered nearby. Drugs were found in the shed.

On March 6, whilst Martin was out on bail for the earlier offences, police received a report of a hit and run collision in Roeview Park in Limavady.

They spoke to Martin who was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he admitted taking 14 Diazepam tablets before getting behind the wheel. Herbal cannabis was discovered at his home and he insisted all the drugs were for his own use.

He was taken to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

His mum had phoned police to say drugs had been found and the defendant said he bought the Diazepam for £10.

Defence barrister Alan Stewart told the court that Martin was a man with “a history of issues with drugs.”

The defendant and an accomplice had tried to gain access to the pharmacy to get medication but he couldn’t remember the incident as he was so “out of it”.

Martin had been “very frank” with the police and hadn’t tried to shirk his responsibilities. He had a job lined up as a plasterer following his release from prison after already spending four and a half months behind bars on remand.

District Judge Peter King, who said Martin had posed “a danger to any road user who came across him in that state,” imposed fines totalling £500 and banned Martin from the roads for two years.

The defendant was also given a four months prison sentence.

Judge King said with the plastering job waiting for the defendant “hopefully that will mean the devil can’t make work for idle hands”.

The judge said the defendant had good support from his family, particularly his mother, who had been “pro-active” in contacting police and the hope was that the spell in prison had helped Martin detox from drugs.

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