Man on child’s bike fled when he saw cops

A judge has said two men who broke into houses in County Derry were “two drunken idiots causing havoc”.

Recorder of Derry Judge Philip Babington made the comment as 35-year-old Damien Palmer and 30-year-old Christopher Mallett appeared at the local crown court.

Palmer, of Asylum Road, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal, possession of a class B drug and driving with no insurance. Mallett, whose address was given on court papers as Gorteen Crescent, Limavady, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and theft of a child’s mountain bike. The charges relate to incidents in the Castledawson area on August 26, last year.

The court heard in the early hours of the morning a homeowner was woken by the sound of someone in their garage attempting to get into the main house. Police were called and when they checked the surrounding area found a black Vauxhall car which had crashed and a mobile phone which was left at the scene of the burglary. Palmer was discovered in a lane way a short distance away and the phone belonged to him. Mallett was observed riding the child’s bike a short time later and when he saw police he fled into the garden of a nearby house. Police received a further report of an attempted burglary at a second address. The homeowner had been woken in the early hours of the morning by the sound of a window being forced open. A mobile phone was discovered at the scene, as well as fingerprints and a footwear impression. They all belonged to Mallett.

Judge Babington said it was clear the burglary was not a “professional job” but perpetrated by “two drunken idiots wandering around the countryside causing havoc”.

Palmer received an eight month jail term suspended for two years and a £150 fine and disqualified from driving for 12 months. Mallett was ordered to complete 80 hours community service and to spend two years on probation.