Man admits to post office robbery bid

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

A 44 year old man who attempted to rob Ballee Post Office onWednesday, and was also in possession of a seven inch knife, was refused bail at Ballymena Magistrate's Court.

Martin James Peter Kinney, with an address at Larne Road, Ballymena, appeared in court via video-link charged with common assault, possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, aggravated burglary with intent to steal and possession of a Class B Controlled drug, namely Cannabis, on September 29, 2021.

The court heard that the incident occurred at the Phoenix Filling Station, where the Post Office is located inside the premises.

A man approached the Post Office and when called forward, he 'jumped on to the counter and began to climb through the small hatch'.

The man did not speak and was wearing a hooded jumper and his face was covered.

He entered the Post Office through the hatch "feet first".

The staff left the area in fear and reported that a robbery was in progress.

The manager of the premises approached the scene and observed a male attempting to exit through the hatch onto the shop floor.

The manager grabbed the defendant's legs in an attempt to prevent him from fleeing.

The burglar began kicking out, thereby assaulting the manager of the store.

The manager noticed that the assailant had slipped something into his left pocket while a knife was observed in the defendant's right pocket.

A member of the public assisted the manager and observed the male trying to reach his right hand pocket.

When control was gained over the defendant, a bundle of £5 notes was recovered from the defendant's pocket as well as a seven inch knife.

The contents of the safe were discovered on the floor and a number of delivery bags were ripped.

The male was identified as being a regular customer to the store.

He also had on his person a small quantity of Cannabis and a bag he had been carrying contained a substantial sum of cash as well as books of stamps.

The defendant admitted the offences and admitted possession of the knife.

Police objected to bail citing a risk of re-offending,

They also said he was out on licence for other serious crimes.

They highlighted that he was a regular customer and attends the pharmacy next door to the premises.

Police said that the defendant also lived in close proximity to the store and they were concerned about the defendant's behaviour.

Police stated that the defendant presented as sober and during custody, had attempted to self-harm.

They also said that the defendant had a very serious offending history.

Defence for Kinney, Stewart Ballentine, said that the incident was "bizarre".

District Judge Nigel Broderick interjected: "I wouldn't say this is bizarre. I would say this is scary, worrying and concerning".

The Judge continued: "This is a serious matter. To go to a Post Office, armed with a knife - whether you used it or not - and then to jump in the counter and struggle.

"This is a very concerning offence, especially in the context of you being out on licence.

"I share concern with the police about there being no suitable address for bail.

"I am refusing bail."

The case will be brought back to court at a later date.

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