Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Cocaine Mr Big is now poke man on Northern Ireland beach

Council concern at convicted drug dealer's new job

By John Toner

A convicted drug dealer has been dishing out ice cream to children and unsuspecting parents at one of Northern Ireland's most popular beach destinations.

Ex-con Shane Carton had to pay back £127,000 proceeds of his crimes in 2007 after being convicted of selling £50 wraps of highly-addictive cocaine in Coleraine.

And in 2014 he was branded "evasive and untruthful" by a judge during a civil action.

Former drug pusher Carton is now working out of an ice cream van called Sambo Mr Whippy on East Strand Beach in Portrush, selling sweet treats.

But his presence as a trader at the family location has caused concern and the Causeway Coast and Glens Council has launched an inquiry into whether the terms of one of its concessionary trading pitches has been breached.

Councillor Norman Hillis said it is "outrageous" a convicted drug dealer is working as a trader on local beaches.

"Obviously we don't want anyone with a criminal conviction. Someone with a criminal conviction shouldn't be working in an ice cream van," he said.

"Under no circumstances, as far as the council is concerned, should this be taking place, it would be outrageous if he was selling ice cream to children.

"It would be completely breaking the rules and terms of the licence, the licence-holder could well face losing their licence. I would take more than a dim view if this is the case and would think the licence should be revoked."

Following his conviction for drug dealing, Carton was ordered to pay back £127,475 under proceeds of crime legislation in June 2007. His conviction and confiscation order came about after an investigation started in April 2005 by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of Coleraine police.

Several years later Carton had a £60,000 compensation case against a nightclub thrown out despite claiming he fractured his ankle on a slippery dancefloor. Carton, then 41, alleged he was injured at the Anchor Bar in Portstewart after slipping on a drink-covered floor.

However, High Court judge Mr Justice Horner dismissed his compensation bid, labelling him "evasive and untruthful".

The judge held that Carton had been untruthful about his drinking or drug-taking at the time and told him: "I consider it more likely that he fell descending stairs while in a state of intoxication brought on by alcohol or drugs or a combination of both."

Carton did not respond when approached for comment by the Sunday Life. A spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens Council said: "We cannot comment on individual legal cases but council can confirm they are currently investigating allegations that the terms and conditions of one of its concessionary trading pitches has been breached."

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