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'Burglar coerced man into wearing his tag', court told

An alleged burglar "coerced" a vulnerable man into wearing his electronic tag, the High Court heard today.

Police discovered the monitoring device had been refitted to the wrong person after fingerprint tests were carried out, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as Henry Hayes was readmitted to bail.

The 20-year-old, with an address at Glencairn Street, Belfast, faces charges of burglary, theft and dangerous driving.

The alleged offences are connected to a raid on a cash and carry in Larne, Co Antrim last October.

Hayes was released on bail on those charges, subject to a condition that he was electronically monitored.

But he was returned to custody early this year after allegedly cutting off his tag.

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In court today prosecution barrister Conor Maguire said the security firm who oversee the operation called at his address to refit the device.

It was claimed that a man there wrongly identified himself as being Hayes.

"It transpired subsequently that this person when he was arrested and fingerprinted wasn't the applicant," Mr Maguire said.

"He is believed by police to be a vulnerable adult and was coerced by the applicant into using his identity to have the electronic tag fitted."

Hayes has since been further charged with causing £250 worth of criminal damage by cutting off the original device.

The barrister claimed Hayes may re-offend if released again.

"It's alleged that he went to some considerable lengths to have a vulnerable adult tagged on his part," he added.

"Police believe that's what he intended to do by cutting off his tag."

Defence counsel Conn O'Neill said his client was not present when the device was fitted.

"He can't account for how this has come to pass," he told the court.

The judge, Mr Justice Horner, agreed to grant bail again after being shown positive reports on the accused.

He imposed a night-time curfew and ordered Hayes to be tagged again.

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