Northern Ireland

James Boreland jailed for robbing shop during riot

A man who robbed his local shop "to buy his son's birthday presents" has been jailed for a total of 28 months.

James Boreland, 25, robbed a Centra filling station on the O'Neill Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, of £200, while rioting was going on nearby.

Police were coming under attack during a flag protest on 4 January, leaving their resources "stretched".

Boreland came into the shop, wielding a broken bottle and with a scarf covering his face, and demanded money.

He left with £200 but CCTV revealed that he had been in two hours earlier, unmasked and wearing identical clothing.

When officers arrested him a week after the robbery, Boreland admitted the robbery and claimed it was to buy birthday presents for his 18-month-old son.

Boreland, from Ardmillan Drive in Newtownabbey, later pleaded guilty to a single charge of robbery.

His lawyer said given the fact that he had been in the shop earlier that evening, "it's feeble, the whole thing is just fundamentally stupid".

He told the judge that in spite of Boreland's claims of what the money was to be used for, "he doesn't know where it went".

Imposing a two-year prison sentence for the robbery and activating a four month previously suspended sentence Boreland had received for benefit fraud, the judge ordered him to spend half the sentence in jail and half on supervised licence.

She told Boreland he had been "extremely threatening and aggressive" towards the two female shop assistants and that as for his supposed excuse, "at a year and a half you don't usually appreciate how much or how little is spent".