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Man stopped by police had altered licence plate and mask on back seat of his car

Defendant was serving prisoner who had been due for release in July

Craigavon-Courthouse

A man caught in Lurgan driving a car with an altered licence plate, two pairs of gloves and a mask has been given a six month prison sentence.

Glenn Andrew O’Connor, 26, of Waveney Park in Belfast appeared via video link from Maghaberry at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday.

He had been charged with driving whilst disqualified and without insurance, obstructing police, having incorrect licence plates and going equipped for theft.

The court heard that the defendant – a service prisoner due for release on July 15 – wished to enter a guilty plea to all charges.

It was at around 1.30am on March 19, last year, when police stopped the defendant on Queen Street, Lurgan, driving a Ford Focus.

Officers spoke to O’Connor who at first gave them a false name. Checks carried out by the police showed that the vehicle was uninsured.

Upon inspection of the car, officers noticed that the front licence plate had been altered using black tape, namely the letter C had been changed to an E.

Police did eventually ascertain the defendant’s name and then discovered that he was a disqualified driver.

It was also revealed in court that two pairs of gloves were found in the vehicle, as well as a mask on the back seat.

When arrested O’Connor made no reply under caution.

In interview at Lurgan Custody Suite, the defendant admitted all charges except that of going equipped for theft.

He told police he worked in a stable for which he needed the gloves and that the mask belonged to his nephew.

Defence counsel stated that O’Connor did not want “to drag out this matter and waste the court’s time”.

He said his client had suffered from mental health problems over the last 18 months during which he had lost his nephew and three close friends to suicide.

The court was also informed by the defence that O’Connor had since reached out to mental health counselling in Maghaberry and wished to “get his life back on track”.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated that given the defendant’s record this offence was “so serious” there was only one penalty she could give.

O’Connor was sentenced to six months in prison, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £25.

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