Police officer fears 'public backlash' if drugs suspect is bailed to Ballymena

Police officer fears 'public backlash' if drugs suspect is bailed to Ballymena

A POLICE officer said he was concerned there "may be a public backlash" if a man facing drugs charges was given bail to return to Ballymena.

The officer was speaking at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, regarding Trevor Hayes (50), with an address listed as Queen Street in Ballymena.

Hayes is one of three men accused in relation to thousands of pounds worth of crack cocaine allegedly found in a saucepan when police swooped on a house in Ballymena.

Hayes is charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine between July and October last year; possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply; production of crack cocaine and possession of the Class A drug on October 12 last year.

He is also alleged to have being concerned in the supply of cannabis and Lyrica between July and October last year.

Hayes is further charged with possessing cannabis with intent to supply on March 1, 2021.

Hayes appeared at court via a video link from prison.

The court heard he has 124 previous convictions including 26 for drugs offences.

Previously, a police officer told Ballymena Magistrates Court, the PSNI searched Hayes' home at 1.45pm on October 12 last year and "a saucepan in the kitchen was observed with suspected crack cocaine present".

She said it was estimated to be 30 grammes worth.  She said the crack cocaine was suspected as being sold in 'deals' of between 0.1 and 0.5 grammes, based on a "mobile phone report".

The officer said the saucepan contained between 60 to 300 'deals' with a 'street value' up to £6,000.

The earlier court was told the three accused were allegedly present and a number of mobile phones, electronic devices and electronic scales were found.

A long-handled spoon had suspected white powder on it and other items including ammonia, bicarbonate soda, peroxide and cash were also seized.

Two wraps of "white powder" were recovered from a toilet.

Meanwhile, the officer said that on March 1 last year Royal Mail intercepted a package at East Midlands Airport which was addressed to Hayes' home.

Over a kilo of cannabis, said to be worth up to £15,000, was seized.

On July 30 last year Hayes was arrested at his home in relation to the airport find.

A mobile phone was seized from Hayes and "drug supply content" was present with "customers" requesting drugs and Hayes "offering suspected drugs for sale".

The PSNI officer said on the phone Hayes named a co-accused as a "coke dealer" and said that "pure coke" was available any time from "one-ish" and that they are "flat out every day".

It was also claimed that "powder" and "rock" were available and a "customer" said they ordered a tenth of a gramme, the officer told the court.

The officer had told the earlier court there was a "great public interest in drugs activity" at the Queen Street address and there was a "real chance the public could take matters into their own hands".

At court this week a PSNI officer said when interviewed Hayes "refused to speak, not even no comment."

He said information on a phone would indicate Hayes is involved in the "supply of Class A, B and C" drugs, Court News NI can report.

The officer said Hayes was arrested last October whilst on bail in relation to the cannabis matter from July 30 last year and he was also in the "midst" of a three year Probation which he had been given at a Crown Court eight months earlier.

In relation to the cannabis in the post the officer said the defendant's name was not on the package but it was addressed to Hayes' home address.

Objecting to bail, the officer believed if released Hayes would "continue to be concerned in criminal activities".

The officer said Hayes put forward a bail address with his brother in a "one bedroom flat" in Ballymena town centre.

The officer said he had been unable to speak to the defendant's brother to establish if it would be a "safe location" for Trevor Hayes.

The officer added: "I would have concerns that given the high profile of the initial arrests in the town that if Mr Hayes was returned to the town there may be a public backlash or outcry in relation to that and there may be safety concerns".

A defence barrister said if bailed Hayes could have a curfew; be electronically tagged and report up to three times a day to police and also submit to drugs "field testing".

He said the defendant is an "inveterate drug user and has supplied to sustain his own habit in the past as opposed to this being a raw, pure, commercial matter. That is not what we are dealing with. He is an addict."

District Judge Nigel Broderick refused bail saying Hayes had an "extensive criminal record".

He said the defendant had been given Probation at Laganside Crown Court in Belfast in February and "only eight months into that Order he is allegedly found in possession of drugs yet again".

The judge said police say there is evidence "on his telephone of him being involved in supply or selling or drugs".

Judge Broderick said there was a risk of further offences.

A Preliminary Enquiry - the legal step to send a case to the Crown Court - is due to be held in the case in June.