A former roadie who worked with bands all over the world has been jailed for six years for robbing two off-licences using an imitation gun.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Robert Lyttle (37), of Victoria Gardens, Donaghadee, was so high on a cocktail of drink and drugs after downing 50 diazepam tablets that he could not remember carrying out the raids just hours apart on March 18, 2009.
Judge Tom Burgess said that Lyttle's work with bands around the world had led him into the sub-culture of drink and drugs, but he has since, by self-determination and outside help, begun tackling his problems.
However, Judge Burgess said that while Lyttle had not used any overt threats of violence, he was prepared to put others in fear with all the resulting traumatic consequences and that his case merited custody, not only to punish but as a deterrent to others.
Prosecuting lawyer David Russell said that a drunken Lyttle first held up the Winemark on Belfast's Belmont Road, from which he took just over £100.
Within two hours Lyttle made off with over £400 after holding up staff in a Tesco's off-licence a short distance away on the Upper Newtownards Road.
Mr Russell said that police investigating the first robbery were leaving the scene and tasked to the second hold-up and arrested a drunken Lyttle nearby.
He was so drunk that he could not be interviewed until the next morning when he claimed a running man had rushed past dropping a rucksack and the monies.
Defence QC Eilis McDermott said while Lyttle had pleaded guilty to the robberies his initial denial to police resulted from the fact that he has no recollection of any of them.
Ms McDermott said that Lyttle had worked for a number of bands in the music industry from Dublin, Holland to Toronto in Canada.
However, it was through this work he began abusing drink and drugs, and has not worked in the past two years.
The lawyer said that it was clear from medical reports available that at the time Lyttle's consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs had been increasing at an alarming rate to such an extent that at times he was intoxicated around the clock.