Northern Ireland

Limavady Tesco night manager accused of robbery

The night manager of a Tesco supermarket in Limavady has appeared in court charged with robbing the store.

Michael Thomas Kearns, 41, from Brecan Lee in Claudy is charged with stealing £36,201 from the store on Saturday.

Londonderry Magistrates Court heard that Mr Kearns had claimed he was threatened by four men who made him steal the cash then abducted him.

However, a detective said the accused had since made full admissions in relation to the robbery.

Mr Kearns contacted the police in Limavady on Saturday and told them he had been abducted by a masked gang while travelling to his work along the Barnauilt Road on the outskirts of Limavady.

The detective said Mr Kearns alleged the men forced him by threats to take the money, then ordered him to take it to Buncrana where it was handed over.

However, the officer went on to say the accused was in an employment dispute with Tesco at the time.

He said that after taking the money Mr Kearns made up false cash entries to cover his actions.

He then drove to Geeveagh in County Sligo where he left the money in a post office owned by his uncle, the detective said.

'Unravelled'

Defence solicitor, Keith Kyle said members of Mr Kearns' family had unravelled the whole story and reported his actions to the Irish police.

He described Mr Kearns' attempts to create what he called the "charade" of kidnapping as "fairly pathetic".

Applying for bail, Mr Kyle said the accused had mental health issues which he said would need appropriate attention.

He said a proposed bail address was available to live in Blackpool with his girlfriend.

However, the deputy district judge refused bail.

He said the accused had previous convictions for fraud, theft, shoplifting and for making false statements and altering documents in Blackpool and Preston.

Mr Kearns was remanded in custody to appear back in Court via video link on 2 September.