A man facing accusations linked to homes in the Larne area being targeted for the theft of legally held guns has had burglary with intent to steal charges withdrawn.
Javin McClure (22), whose address has been given as Ivy Cottages, Ballynure, but who is originally from Larne, was initially accused of entering as a trespasser homes at Croft Road, Ballygalley; Glenburn Road, Glynn and Ballypollard Road, Magheramorne, in August and September last year.
He is also charged with possessing cannabis; possessing cannabis with intent to supply; cultivating a cannabis plant in the vicinity of Ivy Cottages; dishonestly using electricity at Ivy Cottages and causing criminal damage to doors, floors, ceiling and windows.
On Thursday March 16 he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand in connection with the case.
A defence lawyer said the burglary with intent to steal charges were being “reduced” to handling charges and a prosecutor said that was correct.
The previous week at the same court, District Judge Peter King said although the case involved “targeting firearms” he said if it was confirmed the burglary charges were being withdrawn he would consider bail on March 16.
At the March 16 court an application was made for McClure to be released on bail to live with a friend at an address in the Larne area.
A police officer said the alleged offences happened in the Larne area and he deemed the proposed address unsuitable.
He said one of the break-ins occurred at 2.30pm and another when the householder was out although the exact time was unknown.
Judge King asked the officer what conditions would be needed if bail was granted and the officer said he would have liked an address well outside of the Larne area.
The householder who said McClure could stay with her said she would contact police straight away if the accused broke bail conditions and she told the court: “I’m a law-abiding person”.
Judge King said they were serious charges; McClure has a record and police are concerned about re-offending but he said there had been a “significant downgrading” of the charges.
He released McClure on his own bail of £500 with a £950 surety from the householder.
The accused can live at the woman’s address but will be electronically tagged; have a 10.30pm-7am curfew; is not allowed to have any contact with the alleged victims or witnesses and has to report daily to Larne PSNI Station.
A Preliminary Enquiry - the legal step to send the case to the Crown Court - is due in April.