Northern Ireland man banned from every shop, cafe and restaurant in the country

Jordan Bhatt
Belfast city centre

A judge in Northern Ireland banned a man from entering all shops and business premises on 29 March.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he was imposing the ban on Thomas Stokes, aged 18, from Cornshell Field, Derry, to protect the business community from his criminality.

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He was arrested at his home on Tuesday 18 March, as part of an ongoing police investigation, and appeared in Londonderry Magistrates' Court charged with committing 63 offences of possessing and passing counterfeit £50 notes and theft offences.

He denies committing the offences between 10 August of last year and 7 March of 2017.

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A police officer told the court that, as part of a large-scale police investigation, the defendant's home was searched and officers found 32 counterfeit £50 notes under the defendant's bed. The notes were contained in envelopes which had both the receiver's address and the sender's address on them.

The officer said that so far 16 local business people had made complaints to the police about £50 counterfeit notes.

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Applying for bail, his solicitor Oliver Roche said he accepted the defendant faced a large volume of charges but he said there was a presumption of innocence and a presumption of bail.

The judge released the defendant on bail for £1,000 together with a cash surety of £750 and adjourned the case until 5 April.

Imposing the Northern Ireland-wide ban on the defendant, the judge said: "By that I mean shops, licensed premises, cafes, restaurants and takeaways. He will have to 'phone for a takeaway".

He also ordered that the defendant should be electronically tagged and that he should not be in possession of a bank note of greater value than £10.

The judge also imposed a daytime curfew, saying: "I am departing from the usual night time curfew and I am imposing a 9am to 9pm curfew to coincide with shop opening hours."

Mr McElholm warned the defendant that, if he breached any of his bail conditions, he would be remanded in custody.

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