Shoplifting accused refused bail

Man due in court
Man due in court

A man accused of being a member of a ‘highly sophisticated shop lifting gang’ has been refused bail.

Brian McCool, of Lawrence Hill, faces charges of theft, attempted theft, conspiracy to steal, going equipped for theft and handling stolen goods.

The offences allegedly occurred between June 3 and June 6 and involve the theft of football T-shirts worth £600, hair straighteners and clothing worth £800.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that five men have been charged in relation to this and police believe they are members of a ‘sophisticated gang’.

An investigating officer claimed the men have been targeting stores in the city and use a tactic in each theft.

She alleged they use a tin foiled line crisp box to put the stolen items into, and this is covered with wrapping paper and put inside a shopping bag. It is alleged the men don’t speak to each other once in the store, but some distract staff while others steal the items.

The officer told the court McCool was arrested when he was seen trying to sell a pair of stolen hair straighteners close to the police station.

His mobile phone was examined and there were allegedly messages on it about going to steal football tops.

Opposing bail, the officer said the 39-year-old has a relevant criminal record in Scotland and has a history of not complying with bail.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told the court his client could be released on stringent conditions including a ban on entering shopping centres.

Bail was refused and McCool was remanded in custody to appear in court again on November 27.