A man accused of brandishing a stick during an attempted robbery at a shop owned by the father of a DUP MLA in Ballymena told police he wanted money to fund a drug addiction.
Cory McKergin (25), of Queen Street in Ballymena, is charged with the attempted robbery of cash from a nearby Vivo store owned by Robert Frew – dad of North Antrim Assembly Member Paul Frew.
The defendant is also accused of handling stolen goods – two bottles of vodka believed to have been taken from other premises – which police later found at his address.
A police officer told Coleraine Magistrates Court that at 6.40am on Friday July 19 the PSNI received a report of an attempted robbery at the Vivo shop when a suspect entered the store brandishing a stick and demanding money from the till.
The suspect left without any money and after a description was given police went to McKergin’s address.
They found two bottles of Smirnoff Vodka still with security tags on them.
The PSNI officer said McKergin told police he entered the shop with the stick to get money to feed his drug addiction and that the defendant claimed he was not intending to hurt anyone.
The policewoman said McKergin knew the vodka was stolen and that he had bought it for £5 from a male.
The officer said they would not object to the defendant being released on bail to an address outside of Ballymena.
District Judge Liam McNally gave McKergin bail of £500 to an address approved by police along with a curfew from 11pm-9am; he is not to enter Ballymena except for court and is to have no contact with the shop owner.
The case was adjourned to August.