Man accused of burgling neighbours home

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A BALLYCLARE man allegedly burgled his 85-year-old neighbour’s home and then reported the raid to police, a court has heard.

James Hogg, 40, is accused of stealing the pensioner’s handbag containing £100 and personal belongings after visiting her Doagh Road home in Ballyclare.

Hogg, who lives close to the woman, faces charges of burglary and possession of cannabis.

He was granted bail to live at an address outside Ballyclare, and ordered to have no contact with the woman.

The court heard the victim noticed her handbag missing after Hogg had called with her on August 6.

Conor O’Kane, prosecuting, said: “The defendant came back 15 minutes later and she informed him that it had been stolen.

“He actually phoned police on her behalf.”

Officers called to the scene found no sign of a break-in.

Searches of Hogg’s home uncovered a small quantity of drugs and the missing handbag.

Following arrest, the defendant claimed to have found the bag at the bottom of his garden, but had said nothing because he feared he would not be believed.

His barrister, Denis Boyd, told the court: “When police found the cannabis he said he was frightened to tell them about the handbag because they would assume he had stolen it.”

Granting bail for the accused to live in Larne, Mr Justice Stephens imposed a ban on alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

The judge also ordered: “He is to have no contact with the injured party, and he is not to enter Ballyclare for any reason whatsoever.”

Hogg is due to appear in court again on September 4.