Elderly woman ‘pushed aside’

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An elderly woman was pushed aside and had her home ransacked, it was alleged during a bail application for two people accused of the burglary.

Appearing in custody in the dock at Banbridge Magistrates Court last Thursday were James Cash (27), St Paul’s Road, Thornby, Stockton on Tees and Mary Bissett (27), no fixed abode, Dublin.

Both are charged with entering two houses at Hillsborough Road on January 10 this year, stealing jewellery from one and unknown items from the other address.

They are also charged with attempted to steal unknown items from Ecplize Hair Studio in Dromore on the same date and stealing cash to the value of £110.

Cash is further accused with driving while unfit at Mossvale Road, Dromore, not having insurance and not having a licence.

Bissett is also charged with driving without insurance, not having a licence and unlawful possession of a class C drug, Lyrica.

A police officer told the court he was aware of the circumstances of the case and believed he could connect the accused with the charges.

A public prosecutor said that earlier in the morning the defendants had been stopped and £6,000 cash was found in their car. This was seized by police and the couple were sent on their way.

Police later received a report of a burglary at the Hillsborough Road, Dromore, where the resident had a man call at her front door. He said he was a long lost relative and pushed his way in.

A number of rooms were ransacked and a witness described a car in the driveway.

Police later received a report of another break-in on the Hillsborough Road. The house was vacant, a rear window had been broken and the house ransacked.

A tyre company in Dromore also reported that while they were dealing with a puncture to a car £110 had been taken from the cash till and this was found in the bra of the female.

CCTV showed Cash going to the bathroom and the passing the money to Bissett.

They were arrested and Bissett said she had come across on the ferry to see her dying mother and when given the cash didn’t ask where it had come from. The tablets, she said, belonged to Cash and she was minding them for him.

The prosecutor said that objections to bail were a risk of further offences. Cash had no record in Northern Ireland but had a relevant record of a whole gamut of criminal offences in the South.

She added that Bissett had a limited record but it included burglaries and theft.

A solicitor representing both defendants said that Cash accepted his bail application was extremely difficult given his record.

He added that Cash would say that while Bissett was present at the time she was not involved in the offences.

The solicitor explained that she was holding the drugs for Cash who had to take them at times during the day.

District Judge Eamonn King asked why two unemployed people had £6,000 in cash.

The solicitor said they were dealing in cars in Scotland and England.

Judge King said this couple were involved in criminal activity ‘as soon as their feet touched the ground in this jurisdiction’.

He added that the first victim was an elderly lady who was vulnerable and isolated in her own home so how would she feel after that experience.

The judge said the couple then went on from that to a businessman and would have conned him if the police had not intervened.

He refused bailed in both cases and adjourned the case for them to appear again in court on February 9 by way of videolink.