THREE women with Dublin addresses are accused of stealing goods estimated to be worth '£5,000' after allegedly "running out" with two trolleys at the Dunelm store in Coleraine.
The accused are sisters Melissa (34) and Helen (30) Grogan, of Labre Park; and Marilyn Purcell (35), of Rowlagh Avenue.
They are charged in relation to January 11 this year.
Ballymena Magistrates Court, on Thursday, heard the defendants were isolating due to Covid protocols in prison.
They were not in court and were not on video link.
A police officer objected to bail saying a member of the public saw three women "running out" of Dunelm at Riverside Retail Park whilst pushing two trolleys "full of items".
They then got into a Volkswagen Golf car which, Court News NI can report, allegedly "sped off".
Police viewed CCTV which saw three females entering the store at different times before one female left through an exit door "so she could open an entrance door" and the other two then ran out with trolleys full of goods including a rug and duvet sets, it was alleged.
The officer said it was estimated the goods were worth "£5,000".
The court heard a staff member had approached the vehicle and a female had told her to "f-ck off".
The officer said a similar vehicle with three females matching the description of the suspects, was stopped by an "interceptor team" in the Banbridge area on January 12.
The policewoman objected to bail saying they "may be a crime gang".
A defence lawyer said the three women had all travelled up to visit a "sick aunt" who is in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
He said the '£5,000' value was a "guess".
The lawyer added: "It doesn't strike me as a professional operation from some cross-border crime gang. The allegation is really like a smash and grab. Police confirmed to me that they weren't treating this as an organised crime gang".
District Judge Nigel Broderick refused bail.
He said potential records in the Republic had to be checked and there was no cash bail. He added that the accuracy of the value of the stolen goods had still to be established.
The judge said there was potentially a risk of further offences.
The case was adjourned to Coleraine Magistrates Court on January 31.
- Main picture: The Dunelm store in Coleraine. Picture: Google Maps.