ROBBERS wearing “old man masks” made off with cash in an armed robbery as an ATM was being re-filled from a cash-in-transit van in Greysteel on Saturday afternoon, a court has heard.
Dublin men Alan Carroll (37), of Island Key and Darren Redmond (24), of Caledon Road – both in the East Wall area of the city – appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Monday. They are both charged with robbing a security firm of money and possessing a firearm with intent to commit robbery on March 16.
Carroll is also accused of using a mobile phone whilst driving and using a RAV4 vehicle without insurance or MOT in the Foyle Bridge area of Derry/Londonderry. Redmond is accused of possessing cannabis.
Both men appeared in the dock in handcuffs and a police officer said she believed she could connect them to the charges. The officer said police received a report from G4S around noon on Saturday that one of their security vans had been robbed at gunpoint in Greysteel.
Two security guards had been held-up by two men with southern accents wearing “old man masks” and “brandishing a silver handgun”. The policewoman said the two security guards were refilling an ATM and one of the guards was pushed inside the ATM facility and “a gun held to the head” of the other guard.
An attempt was made to take money from the ATM and when told it was on a timer, one of the raiders then demanded that a guard opened a security box he had brought in from the van and money was then taken.
Money was placed in a black hold-all and the robbers ran off across a road.
The police officer said police identified a RAV4 jeep-type vehicle with a missing spare wheel at the back and a description was circulated and police lost it for a time and believed it had gone into the Nelson Drive area in Derry/Londonderry.
The officer said the vehicle re-emerged and was then stopped at Foyle Bridge and the two occupants were the defendants with Carroll at the wheel. The court heard Carroll claimed to have bought the vehicle a few days beforehand in England. The officer said neither men gave any explanation as to why they were in Northern Ireland and police believed the RAV4 crossed the border at Aughnacloy the previous day.
The policewoman said police believed both men stayed overnight on Friday. The officer said CCTV showed a RAV4 passing the Greysteel shop a short time before the robbery and CCTV from the security van showed the two raiders were of similar build to the defendants.
The policewoman said police believe the raiders went to an unknown location and disposed of the gun, masks and money. The officer said Carroll had 180 convictions and is currently on bail accused of murder relating to November 6, 2016.
He had also been bailed after being arrested for making threats to kill and making threats to burn down a public house. The court heard that in another case, the defendant had been acquitted of murder in 2009.
The police officer said Redmond had one previous conviction in the Republic for possession of knives in 2013 and was “deemed to be a person of interest” to Gardai. Defence lawyers said no items in relation to the Greysteel robbery were found on the defendants and there was nothing placing the alleged robbers getting into the vehicle both accused were in.
One of the lawyers said there was a dispute as to the colour of a vehicle allegedly seen in the area.
“There is no nexus between the green RAV4 and the robbery. There are substantial weaknesses in the Crown case,” he added.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was clear it was a “circumstantial case” but said there were a number of sightings of a vehicle close to and after the robbery and there were questions to be asked in terms of the movements of the defendants. Redmond did not make a bail application but Carroll did and it was objected to by the police officer.
Refusing bail for Carroll the judge said Carroll had an extensive criminal record and he was on bail for alleged offences including murder. The judge said a bail address had been put forward in Newry at the home of a “friend” of Carroll’s and the friend had 120 convictions.
The judge said there was a risk of further offences; a risk of failing to attend court and in addition the bail address was unsuitable.
Redmond’s case was adjourned to this Thursday in Ballymena when a bail application is expected and Carroll’s case was adjourned to Coleraine Magistrates Court next week.