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Officer dragged up to 50 metres by man attempting police getaway in Armagh

A PSNI officer was dragged along by a vehicle as the driver attempted to evade a police and customs checkpoint.

The officer was dragged for up to 50 metres as Kevin Barry Conlon tried to reverse his vehicle away from the joint operation into illegal fuel use at Keady Road, Armagh.

The 33-year-old, from Annaghgad Road in Crossmaglen, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, obstructing a customs officer and assaulting police.

He appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where he was fined a total of £600 and banned from driving for a year.

The court heard the incident happened on March 27 at around 10.55am.

Police had set up a vehicle checkpoint, alongside HMRC officials, and officers had been checking for illegal diesel when the defendant drove up and was stopped.

Conlon then reversed his car, trapping the arm of one officer as he did so and proceeded to drive for a distance of between 40 and 50 metres.

Court heard the defendant punched the officer several times on the arm to get free before the vehicle stalled.

Conlon was then arrested and restrained as the officer was able to remove the keys from the car.

During interview, the defendant told police he had panicked as he was afraid of being detected with illicit diesel.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny said Conlon had left himself in “a far worse position than if he had just accepted that he would be detected”.

He said his client had been both accepting and apologetic.

Mr Lunny said Conlon was a car tradesman and the loss of his licence would have “severe consequences”.

Deputy District Judge John Rea imposed a 12-month driving ban and ordered him to pay fines totalling, £600, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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