Rasharkin man stole Unionist and loyalist flags 'for a bit of craic'
A man from the County Antrim village of Rasharkin who stole a number of Unionist and loyalist flags claimed he did it "for a bit of craic".
Michael McTaggart (26), of Portna Road, appeared at Coleraine Magistrate's Court on Monday and admitted the theft of a number of flags of unknown value on a date between January 1 and July 17 this year.
A prosecutor said the defendant was stopped in a car on July 16 and a search of the boot uncovered a number of Union Flags, a 'Freeman Memorial' band flag and other Unionist and loyalist flags.
The defendant initially told police he had been given the flags by a work colleague but then admitted that he had stolen them "for a bit of craic".
The court heard the flags were stolen from "all over" and the prosecutor said in particular a number of flags had been taken from the Windy Hall area of Coleraine.
She added that although it was suspected the items McTaggart had were from there it could not be established beyond doubt.
The prosecutor said the flags were said to be worth £10 each and she did not have a record of how many flags the defendant had but she said they had been damaged, ripped or torn.
She said it was not known who to return them to but even if they could have been given back they were damaged.
Defence solicitor Aiden Carlin said his client made full admissions.
Fining the defendant £300, District Judge Liam McNally said he had no doubt that if somebody did the same thing regarding flags in Rasharkin that McIntaggart might not like it.
The judge said the case was an example of the "intolerance" of one part of this community towards the flying of flags from the other side.
Belfast Telegraph Digital