Dungiven man denies stealing from Limavady branch of NFUM

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

A 36-year old Dungiven man has gone on trial, accused of lodging a cheque into his bank account which was stolen from the Limavady branch of National Farmers Union Mutual.

The Crown has made the case that Dennis Edwards, who is also known as Dennis Diver, lodged a stolen cheque for £8,700 into his bank account.

He is also accused of withdrawing the whole amount from his account over a short period of time just days after the cheque cleared. Edwards, from Main Street, Dungiven, has denied two offences levelled against him. Instead, he claims that he was given the cheque by a friend, who asked him to lodge what he said was a compensation claim into his bank account.

Edwards also said the other man asked him to lodge the cheque into his account as he didn’t want the claim to interfere with his benefits. Prosecuting barrister Mark Farrell said that in mid 2010, three cheques and cheque stubs were stolen from the Limavady branch of the NFUM.

One of the stolen cheques was made out to a person called Dennis Diver, whom Mr Farrell said was the same man in the dock.

Telling the jury the cheque was made out for £8,700, Mr Farrell said it was then paid into Edwards bank account in Belfast on May 28, 2010.

The bank honoured the cheque and Mr Farrell said that once the cheque had cleared, “over the next two and a half weeks, the proceeds of the cheque were spent, almost to the penny.”

This spending included cash withdrawals at ATMs. Mr Farrell said that on June 3, 2010, an amount of £1,000 was electronically transferred from the account in question into another account held in the same bank by Edwards.

Later that day, the exact same amount was transferred back again from account to account. The jury was told that between January and August 2014, Edwards was interviewed by a police on several occasions. He told officers he accepted he paid a cheque which was made out to him into his bank account, and said he had been given the cheque by a man he knew.

Edwards said this man asked him to lodge the cheque which he was told was a compensation claim. This man said he didn’t have a bank account and alluded to the fact he didn’t want the claim to affect his benefits.

Edwards also made the case that this man had access to his bank account, as Edwards had given him his bank card and PIN number. Edward denied all of the charges.