Man accused of stealing money from a Derry church is banned from entering the city

Alleged theft took place at St Eugene's Cathedral last month


The collection money was stolen from St Eugene's Cathedral last month.

A man accused of stealing collection money from a church in Derry has been banned from entering the city.

Joseph McCloskey is charged with stealing donations from St Eugene's Cathedral on December 11 last.

The 23-year-old is also charged with attempting to steal donations from the local church on the same date.

McCloskey also faced a number of other charges when he appeared before Dungannon court on Saturday.

These included attempting to steal donations on January 18 this year, and stealing three donations on January 21.

He was also charged that on January 21 he was in possession of a wooden rod with blue tack at the end, a screwdriver with a magnet at the end and four pairs of tweezers for use in connection with burglary or theft.

While no other churches were mentioned during Saturday's court hearing, it is understood that the other thefts and attempted thefts also relate to places of worship in Derry.

The court was told that McCloskey had been on bail on separate charges last month when police officers called to his bail address on December 24 to check on him.

He was not in the house at the time which was a breach of his bail curfew of 10pm to 8am.

The bail breach was accepted at Saturday's court hearing.

When questioned by the judge on why there had been a delay in the bail breach coming before the courts, a police officer said that McCloskey had a history of avoiding police.

She said that although he had been bailed to live at the address in Maghera, it was understood that he had been living with his girlfriend in Derry city.

The police officer said they would 'strongly object' to McCloskey being released on bail again.

She said that he had 26 convictions over the last five years, 14 of which were for dishonesty offences, including robbery, burglary and fraud.

“We feel that he won't abide by bail conditions,” the officer added.

Defence solicitor, Liam McStay, said McCloskey was due to appear before Derry Magistrates Court on January 29 in connection with separate charges.

Mr McStay said that if his client was remanded in bail he would have to be taken into 'Covid secure' custody which would mean he would have to self-isolate and would be unable to appear before the court on January 29.

Mr McStay said he accepted that McCloskey had a 'very poor record' and that the charges in relation to the thefts from the churches were of a 'mean' nature.

The solicitor said his client would be prepared to be tagged while on bail.

The police officer said they would agree to bail if McCloskey was tagged and had to keep to a curfew.

She also asked that he be banned from entering places of worship unless he was accompanied to a specific church that he would attend.

The police officer also asked that McCloskey be banned from entering Derry city.

The judge agreed to the bail application on the basis that the court hearing on January 29 would be disrupted if he was isolating.

As part of his bail conditions, the judge said that McCloskey must reside at an address at Ranaghan Road in Maghera and must also wear an electronic tag.

He was also prohibited from entering places of worship, apart from St Mary's Catholic church in Maghera, which was put forward as the church that McCloskey would attend.

He must also stick to a curfew from 10pm to 8am.

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