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Stinger and helicopter deployed as Lurgan boxer leads police on pursuit around town

Defence stated the incident wasn't a "particularly exciting chase" adding, "It wasn't as if it was one of those shows you see on ITV2."

A Lurgan boxer who sped through town and failed to stop for police, leading to a helicopter and stinger device being deployed, has been fined £375 and given nine penalty points.

Diarmuid Toland, from Deeny Drive, narrowly avoided losing his licence when his case was heard before District Judge Bernie Kelly at Craigavon Magistates’ Court on Friday.

Judge Kelly warned that any more driving offences in the next few years will “put him off the road”.

The 23-year-old, whom the court was told boxes for Ireland and requires his licence to train, did not appear in court for the sentencing exercise.

He was charged with failing to stop for police, having a defective headlight and driving without due care and attention.

The court heard that on Wednesday, March 29, this year, police had observed an Audi driving in Lurgan at speed. They signalled for the vehicle to stop, but the vehicle failed to do so and continued to drive at speed on the Kilwilkie Road.

The vehicle pulled away from police at speeds of 40mph in a 30mph zone. Due to the significant gap between the vehicle and police, the lights and sirens were deactivated.

Police attended the address that was registered to the vehicle, where they confirmed with a named driver the owner of the vehicle.

Police observed the vehicle again and continued to use blue lights and sirens and were told by the helicopter that the vehicle was travelling in the direction of the Antrim Road.

When police followed the vehicle it was observed driving on the wrong side of the road a number of times and driving at speed in narrow streets. A stinger device was deployed and the vehicle continued to drive with three flat tyres, before coming to a standstill on the Levin Road.

The male in the car refused to open the window or door and get out. He was later arrested.

Speaking on behalf of the defendant, a defence solicitor stated that it was a “completely foolish and completely avoidable act”, adding that his client had “panicked” whenever the police came upon him.

However, he conceded that the deployment of the stinger gave a “flavour of a much more serious incident”.

He argued the incident wasn’t a “particularly exciting chase” adding, “it wasn’t as if it was one of those shows you see on ITV2.”

Following the plea of mitigation by the defence, District Judge Kelly commented that the incident was “very much the high end of careless driving”.

She imposed a total fine of £375, along with the offender levy, to be paid within 12 weeks, along with nine penalty points on the defendant’s licence.

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