Drug accused must stay out of Larne

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man charged in relation to the discovery of a cannabis factory was told by a judge a bail address should be away from east Antrim and the defendant replied: “I don’t want to be in Larne any way”.

John Edward Bartlett (32), whose address was given as Belfast Road, Comber, appeared at Ballymena Magistrate’s Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison, where he has been on remand, for a bail application.

He also told District Judge Peter King he liked the “free gym membership” in the jail.

Bartlett faces six charges relating to a drugs find at Raloo on November 20 last year.

The charges include: possession of cannabis; cultivating cannabis at Raloo; being concerned in the supply of cannabis; producing cannabis; criminal damage to a ceiling and floor of a property and dishonestly causing electricity to be diverted at Raloo.

Full details have yet to be given to the court but at the time the cannabis factory was found, police said it consisted of over 240 plants.

On Thursday, Bartlett was released on his own bail of £500 with conditions that he must reside away from Larne and he is banned from contacting witnesses.

He also has to surrender any passports and must report to police five times a week.

The case was adjourned until October to fix a date for a Preliminary Enquiry.

Before leaving the video link booth, Bartlett told the judge: “Thank you very much, have a good day”.

Back in July, another judge told Bartlett it was “nice to have a satisfied customer” after the defendant said he didn’t mind staying in Maghaberry on remand.

District Judge Liam McNally replied: “It is good, but not that good”.