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Defendant walked up to police vehicle, opened door and let arrested man make a run for it

The following month he admitted stealing Magner's cider from Sainsbury's as he did not have the money to pay

A Newry man who helped free a man whom police had arrested did so “out of badness”, a court has been told.

The 29-year-old also confessed to stealing £10 worth of Magner’s cider because he did not have the money for it from a local store earlier this year.

Ciaran Heffernan, of St Mary’s Street, pleaded guilty to theft and obstructing police at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

These offences were accrued by the defendant over two separate incidents.

It was heard that on May 28, at 4.20pm, police were called to St Mary’s Street for a public order offence.

Officers arrested a male, not the defendant, for an offence and placed him in a police vehicle.

Heffernan, who was nearby, was observed walking up to police vehicle before opening the back door letting the arrested male escape.

He did run but was apprehended just 30 metres away.

When interviewed, Heffernan told police that he could not remember the incident but if he did do it that it was “done out of badness”.

The second incident occurred on June 15, at 8.20pm, police were called to Sainsbury’s in Newry regarding a shoplifter.

Officers identified the defendant as the male seen on CCTV lifting a box of Magner’s cider, valued at £10, from the store before leaving without paying.

Police later that day apprehended Heffernan on Monaghan Street and took him to Banbridge Custody Suite.

During interview, the defendant made full admissions. He said that he took the drink as he did not have the money to pay for it.

Defence counsel stated: “These were stupid offences and Mr Heffernan has instructed he is not drinking anymore.”

The defendant was ordered to pay a fine of £225, along with £30 in offenders’ levies, within four weeks.

In addition, Heffernan was also ordered to pay compensation fo £10 for the Magners’ cider.

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