Man on cocaine ‘binge’ at time of boat club thefts

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A man has been given a suspended prison term in connection with thefts from vessels at the Blue Circle Boat Club at Magheramorne.

Matthew Paul Morrison (22), originally of Skegoneill Avenue in north Belfast, but whose address has now been given as Forthill Park, Newtownabbey, was sentenced on charges of causing damage to a boat cover and going equipped for theft with a wheel brace, relating to August 8 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing a life jacket, Garmin fish finder, radio, wheel nuts, a fuel tank and a fuel line.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on February 23 two males and a female were spotted at the boat club.

The prosecutor said Morrison said he was only in the area to talk to somebody about mooring a boat and claimed items found were spare parts.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said the case had previously proceeded in his client’s absence and he maintains his innocence.

Morrison, who had a lengthy record, has been drug free for a time, said Mr Law, but at the time had been on a cocaine binge.

Morrison was given three months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £300 compensation.

In November, a co-defendant, also from Skegoneill Avenue, admitted similar charges.

A prosecutor told that sitting that police received a report of two males and a female taking items from boats at the boat club and stolen items were found.

That man’s defence barrister Neil Moore said his client had stolen to get money for drugs. The co-defendant was put on Probation for a year and also ordered him to carry out 50 hours Community Service.