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‘Hardened’ heroin addict ‘living in a tent’

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A “hardened” heroin addict who police believes shoplifts to fund his addiction had been “living in a tent”, a court was told.

Dale McKee (26), whose address was given as no fixed abode in Ballymena, has admitted stealing bedding worth £30 from Sainsbury’s and a gold vase worth £11 from The Range in Ballymena.

A police officer told Coleraine Magistrates Court the defendant had 93 previous convictions including 27 for theft.

The officer said the defendant was a “hardened heroin addict” and he believed he shoplifted to fund his addiction.

He said McKee did not have a stable address but “sofa-surfs”.

Defence solicitor David Nagra said the defendant had been “living rough, sleeping in a tent”.

He said McKee had been at court the previous week but “was the worse for wear, suffering from the effects of drugs” and he failed to return when his case was heard in the afternoon.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and appeared at Coleraine Court from custody.

McKee was given bail and the case was adjourned to the end of July for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

He has to reside at an address to be approved by PSNI and must attend the Community Addiction Team.

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