Belfast Telegraph

Digger raid accused is denied bail over crime and interference fears

Darren Porter (25) appeared for a hearing at Downpatrick Magistrates' Court yesterday (stock photo)
Darren Porter (25) appeared for a hearing at Downpatrick Magistrates' Court yesterday (stock photo)

By Paul Higgins

A man accused of trying to steal an ATM has been remanded in custody.

Darren Porter (25) appeared for a hearing at Downpatrick Magistrates' Court yesterday.

He is charged with burglary of Carlisle's filling station, causing criminal damage to the petrol station canopy endangering life and aggravated vehicle theft of a front-loading digger, all allegedly committed on November 18.

Porter, from the Listooder Road in Saintfield, is the second man to be charged after 26-year-old Adrian Boyd, of no fixed abode, appeared in court earlier this week.

A detective constable told the court yesterday that a trailer had been stolen from Croob Park in Ballynahinch. The officer added that CCTV footage from a quarry close to Carlisle's garage showed the digger and a VW Passat leaving at 5.10am.

The officer described how the stolen digger was used to ram the ATM approximately 30 times. It was then used to ram the front of the shop.

Two men then went inside the store and "opened every till," said the officer, adding that they stole scratchcards, cash and cigarettes.

The owner of the filing station arrived and saw two men getting into the VW Passat, with a third man getting into the digger. When he tried to drive off, he crashed into the forecourt canopy, causing it to fall.

The court was told the stolen digger was found abandoned close to the quarry where it had been stolen. The Passat was found burnt out around 200 yards from Porter's home. According to the detective, Porter was seen running from the burnt-out car.

When police searched his home, they recovered clothing which matched clothing seen on seized CCTV footage.

Under cross-examination from Porter's defence solicitor, the officer agreed the defendant had "fully co-operated" with police.

The lawyer said his client denied the offences and submitted that with no forensic evidence to link Porter to the incident, he could be freed.

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Amanda Brady said the police investigation was "fresh and ongoing". She added that she shared concerns about the risk of Porter committing further offences or interfering with witnesses.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph