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Addict Claimed He Exchanged Drugs For Jewellery With Strangers But Denied Involvement In Ballycastle Shop Break-In

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A Ballycastle addict claimed he exchanged drugs for some jewellery with strangers who had given him a lift and denied he was involved in a pre-Christmas break-in in the County Antrim town when an estimated £5,000-£10,000 worth of jewellery was taken.
Patrick Joseph Stephen O’Kane was caught stealing alcohol from a Ballymena supermarket and a quantity of the jewellery was found in his possession.

He appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was taken to Antrim Area Hospital where he kicked a hand sanitizer off a wall; attempted to headbutt a police officer and then kicked a female officer twice on the chest before also kicking a nurse on the knee. Other patients had to be moved during the disturbance.

Monday’s sitting of Coleraine Magistrates Court heard O’Kane (29), of White Hall Place, Ballycastle, had denied being involved in stealing jewellery during a break-in at ‘Cobwebs’ in Ballycastle and instead claimed he was given a lift by persons unknown who gave him some jewellery in exchange for drugs. O’Kane pleaded guilty to charges including receiving stolen goods, disorderly behaviour and assaults.

The defendant also admitted charges of burglary and criminal damage after a break-in in early December last year at McCaughan’s Chemist in Ballycastle when cash, perfumes and medication were stolen.
Over £5,000 worth of damage was caused during the break-in including to glass cabinets. A defence lawyer said O’Kane’s adult life had been blighted by a “pernicious addiction to drugs”.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said they were serious offences and the defendant was in breach of suspended sentences. She said medical staff and police officers had been targeted who “were only doing their day’s work and trying to help the community”.

O’Kane was given a 14 months jail sentence.

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