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'Apologetic' robber jailed for holding up off-licence

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 17/09/2016

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An "almost apologetic" robber who targeted an off-licence in north Belfast was handed a three-and-a-half year sentence yesterday

An "almost apologetic" robber who targeted an off-licence in north Belfast was handed a three-and-a-half year sentence yesterday.

As he raided Gap Wines on the Antrim Road, Alan Joseph Paul Heaney told an employee he was "doing it for his children" - despite the fact he doesn't have any kids.

The 22-year-old, from Knockenagh Walk in Newtownabbey, was told by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that he will serve 21 months of his sentence in custody, with the remaining 21 months on supervised licence upon his release from prison.

When the robbery on August 24 was reported to police, a crime scene investigator was able to lift a fingerprint that was later matched to Heaney.

The Newtownabbey man was also linked to the scene by CCTV footage.

Defence barrister Denis Boyd said his client had a "difficult background" which included not doing well at school, being raised by his grandfather, and "drifting" into drugs and getting into trouble.

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