Teen accused of attempted robbery

A teenager has appeared in court accused of attempting to rob a shop while wearing a gas mask and armed with a knife.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, is charged with attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

The charges relate to an alleged incident at a shop in the Sevenoaks area of the Waterside on February 5.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the teen phoned police on Wednesday afternoon and told them he had attempted to rob the shop.

He told officers he had armed himself with a knife, wore a gas mask and went into the shop with the intention of stealing money.

The court was told police spoke with the female staff member who was working in the shop at the time. She was shaken by the incident and confirmed that someone had come into the shop brandishing a knife. However, she told police she recognised him and when she called his name he left the shop.

During police interview, the 16-year-old said he had selected the shop because he knew it was a ‘soft touch’ staffed mostly by females who would not be physically able to stop him.

Opposing a bail application, an investigating officer said there was a degree of premeditation in the incident and police would be concerned the teen would commit further offences.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told the court his client would be admitting the offences and knows that they are ‘extremely serious’.

He added that the kitchen knife was one from his family home and the gas mask was part of a Hallowe’en costume.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that because of the teenagers age there is a ‘presumption in favour of bail’.

The 16-year-old was released on his own bail of £200, with a surety of £750 to reside at his mother’s address.

He was ordered to abide by a curfew, be electronically tagged and is banned from going within 100 metres of the shop.

He will appear in court again on March 4.