Man who broke into Antrim pub on St Patrick's Day to steal alcohol was caught 'red-handed'

Man who broke into Antrim pub on St Patrick's Day to steal alcohol was caught 'red-handed'

A MAN who had broken into the Top of the Town pub in Antrim town in the early hours of St Patrick's Day this year with intent to steal alcohol was "caught red-handed" by police who responded to an alarm.

Details emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, where Gerald Gould (44), of Donegore Drive in Antrim, was released on bail.

He is charged with having a 'weapon of offence' during an aggravated burglary with intent to steal and is also accused of causing criminal damage to windows, roof tiles, plastic roofing and a coffee machine.

The defendant appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand for five months.

A police officer told the court the bar owner said £1,500 damage was caused.

She said police had gone to the pub and saw Gould in the bar.

The prosecutor said a black-handled lock knife was found on stairs by police.

During an interview the defendant said the knife was not his.

Gould told police he had "taken pills" and although he had "no idea what happened" he said he was "probably" in the bar "to steal alcohol".

The officer said the defendant had 119 previous convictions including nine for burglary and five for criminal damage.

He had been given a suspended sentence on March 8 at Antrim Crown Court.

Defence solicitor Shane O'Neill said Gould had "made admissions" during interview regarding St Patrick's Day.

He said the defendant had "addiction issues".

The lawyer said the bail application was in relation to "delay" in the case.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said the defendant had made admissions and had been "caught red-handed".

He said Gould had a poor record and the burglary happened just days after he had received a suspended prison sentence.

However, the judge said, the length of time the defendant had been in custody on remand "tips the balance" in favour of bail.

Gould was released on £200 bail to reside at an address suitable to police with a night time curfew and an alcohol ban.

The case was adjourned to September 14.

  • Pictured: The Top of the Town bar.