A man who has admitted stealing a County Antrim mechanic’s trailer which he then loaded up with a haul of tools – with the total value estimated at £20,000 – claimed he did it to pay off a drugs debt.
Colin Rockett (35), whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison but who is believed to be from Belfast, struck near Dunloy in June 2016, Coleraine Magistrates Court was told on Monday.
Rockett appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison and pleaded guilty to charges including burglary of a domestic garage when a twin axle trailer and various power tools and equipment were taken.
He also admitted driving offences and possessing cannabis.
A prosecutor said the mechanic’s tools had been built up over a long period of time.
She said the defendant claimed he was alone and admitted forcing the lock on the garage and loading up the trailer.
The court was told police did recover some tools during a search of Rockett’s property but they were not the mechanic’s tools.
A defence solicitor said Rockett made full admissions and said a “drug debt” was the background to his client’s involvement in the offending behaviour.
District Judge Peter King said the value of the stolen items meant the case should have gone to the Crown Court as he didn’t believe the Magistrates Court sentencing powers were sufficient.
He adjourned the case to December 17 to allow the Public Prosecution Service to reconsider the venue for the case.