Man refused bail on his 21st birthday

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A man accused of robbing a Limavady shop was remanded in custody on his 21st birthday.

Jason Thomas Cooke, whose address was given on court papers as no fixed abode, is charged with robbery on August 22.

The charge relates to an alleged incident in the Coolessan Walk area of the town.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations Cooke entered the shop with a nine inch knife.

He allegedly banged this on the counter and demanded staff place money into a plastic bag.

Five bags of pound coins were placed into it.

It is alleged Cooke was identified by a member of staff, who allegedly knew him from school.

The incident was also captured on CCTV, which has been viewed by police.

The court heard allegations the 21-year-old was arrested and during a search of his home police found empty money bags.

It is further alleged clothes were seized which matched those worn by the robber.

During police interview Cooke denied committing the robbery and claimed he had never seen the clothes seized by police before.

He also provided police with the names of alibi witnesses, however they have not provided statements yet.

Opposing bail, an investigating office said police fear Cooke will commit further offences.

She added that police also have fears the 21-year-old will interfere with witnesses.

The officer told the court an identification procedure is outstanding and police have to take statements from some witnesses.

She also said the defendant has a history of committing further offences whilst on bail and police believe the proposed bail address is unsuitable.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Hampson said his client co-operated with police during interview.

Mr Hampson added that police concerns could be managed with bail conditions.

He said a proposed bail address for Cooke, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, was some distance away from the shop.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail and said there was a clear risk of further offences and interference with witnesses.

He asked the police to organise the identification procedure ‘as quickly as possible’.

Cooke will happen in court again via videolink on September 10.