Raided hospital lockers for cash

Editorial image
Editorial image

A heroin addict who caused £800 worth of damage to staff lockers at Belfast City Hospital has been warned he risks a ten-month jail term.

Dale McKee (24), of Edward Street, Ballymena, appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court on Thursday for sentencing on a number of offences including theft, criminal damage and possession of heroin.

A prosecutor said in June last year McKee and a co-accused targeted staff lockers at a corridor and items stolen included a staff member’s security pass. McKee told police he had been drinking heavily at the time and wished to apologise.

Also last year, McKee attempted to steal seven boxes of Michael Kors perfume worth almost £300 from Debenham’s in Belfast but was caught before he could flee.

In May this year the defendant was caught with heroin in his sock after being stopped and searched by police.

He told officers he “forgot” it was there and said he was “getting help” for his addiction.

Defence barrister Neil Moore said McKee is originally from Larne and his father Noel Campbell would be “only too well known to the courts” and added: “Unfortunately due to ‘anti-social behaviours’ the entire family were all forced to leave the Larne area”.

Mr Moore said they relocated to Ballymena but “having come to the attention of certain individuals”, McKee and his dad were “forcefully relocated to Belfast”.

The lawyer said his client then began mis-using heroin and he was stealing to get money to buy the drug. Mr Moore claimed that whilst in a psychiatric hospital McKee was “continuing to mis-use heroin” but he is now on a methadone programme.

District Judge Peter King said said he would defer sentence until August and if there was any re-offending McKee was facing ten months in jail.