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Four men involved in ‘unsophisticated attempt’ to defraud shops in The Boulevard retail park

Four men accused of fraud had images of more than 80 different credit card details, a court heard today (Thursday).

Banbridge Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Newry, also heard however that the alleged plot was doomed to fail as the four only had images of credit card numbers and expiry dates but that postcodes and house numbers would also have been necessary for the scheme to work.

Appearing at court by videolink from police custody were 19-year-olds Owen Maughan, Martin O’Donnell, Eddie Mongan and 22-year-old William O’Donnell.

Maughan, from Coolcullen Meadows in Enniskillen and Dublin men Martin O’Donnell, from Cuthsbert Meadow, William O’Donnell, from Broad Meadow and Mongan, from Hayden’s Lane, are jointly accused on two charges – attempted fraud by false representation to buy goods worth £500 from The Boulevard in Banbridge and possessing articles for fraud, namely mobile phones which contained images of credit card receipts, both allegedly committed on November 24 this year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that according to the police case, the four were using images of credit card numbers and expiry dates on receipts to input the details on a payment machine in the Timberland store at the Boulevard Outlet when they were “challenged by staff”.

The four were stopped in a Vauxhall Astra car in Newry a short time later and 85 images of different card receipts were uncovered on two mobile phones which were seized, although the lawyer added that three further phones have yet to be examined.

The lawyer said police were objecting to bail due to the risk of further offences as all four had convictions in the Republic and three were wanted for Gardai investigations with outstanding warrants for their arrests.

With District Judge Paul Copeland commenting that it was a case of “old sins, new ways”, defence solicitor Ruairi Gillen said he had hoped the case could have been dealt with today but with the police continuing their investigations that was not possible.

Describing it as a “relatively, on the face of it, unsophisticated attempt,” the solicitor said it would never have been successful as unlike the Republic, postcodes and house numbers were required when directly inputting card details into payment machines.

He added that while the defendants’ respective parents were “not especially enamoured with handing out cash at this time of year,” there was available a £500 cash surety for each of the accused.

District Judge Copeland said while Mr Gillen had made a “comprehensive and detailed” bail application, “he has an uphill battle here”.

“I’m reluctant to grant bail at this particular stage,” said the judge as there were “understandable fears” about the risk of further offences and the risk of flight.

All four were refused bail and remanded into custody until December 17.

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