A woman arrested for suspected drunk in charge in Derry was found to be in possession of a stolen car valued at £40,000 the local Magistrate's Court heard today.

Alyson Abbott (46), with an address at Bryant Road in Kettering in England, was charged with drunk in charge and handling stolen goods on December 14.

A police officer connected Abbott to the charges and opposed bail.

The court was told police received a report of a woman driving who was believed to be intoxicated.

They were given a partial registration number and located a similar vehicle on Queen's Quay.

While police were present Abbott came and tried to get into the rear of the vehicle.

Staff at a restaurant told police Abbott had been inside drinking gin and tonics and then tried to get into the driver's seat of the car before she was challenged by staff and patrons.

At that she returned back inside.

She told police she was just getting a charger from the car.

As the car had a Dublin registration, Gardai were contacted and when they went to the address of the owner they found a similar vehicle with the exact same registration.

The vehicle in Derry it turned out had been stolen in Dublin in August and was valued at £40,000 and had been fitted with false number plates.

Abbott told police her partner and herself had come to Ireland on Wednesday and borrowed a car from a friend of his.

She refused to identify the owner but denied driving. Staff at the restaurant said she had been on her own the whole time she was there.

The police officer said they were checking CCTV to try and find any driver.

He told the court the address in England appeared to have been rented out and police there said they had had some difficulty talking to Abbott as she seemed to have various addresses.

Police opposed bail for fear of flight and as there was no suitable address.

Defence barrister Nicki Rountree told the court as far as she was aware the partner had been interviewed by police but the police officer said he was not aware of this.

Ms Rountree said there was no evidence that her client had any knowledge the car was stolen.
The barrister said Abbott had friends in Moville and could probably provide a cash surety if a suitable address could be found.

District Judge Barney McElholm said the bail application was premature as an address was required.

He said bail might be possible when things became clearer.

He said this car was a high value vehicle and certain types of criminal use high value cars as a way to move money around.

The judge said Abbott's failure to co-operate or give any useful information had to be taken into account.

He refused bail and remanded Abbott in custody to appear again on January 10.

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