Coleraine man had a crossbow

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A man wearing a balaclava and carrying a crossbow who was caught by police near Coleraine’s Ballysally estate claimed he was out shooting on waste ground instead of aiming at a target in his shed as normal.

Coleraine Magistrates Court was told on Monday Mark Ryan Booth, (31), a carpet fitter of Woodburn Crescent in Ballysally, was detected at the nearby Ring Road at 7.50pm on September 24 this year.

A charge of possessing an offensive weapon - a crossbow - in a public place was previously withdrawn.

Also at the earlier court hearing Booth pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer.

A prosecutor said after spotting balaclava-clad Booth police stopped and spoke to the father of two and as he was being arrested he technically assaulted a constable but there was no injury.

A defence lawyer said Booth was “reckless in the extreme” to be wearing the balaclava and carrying the crossbow but that behind the “sheer stupidity” there was an “innocent” explanation as he was out shooting on waste ground near Coleraine university.

He said Booth had set up a target to fire off crossbow bolts in his shed but on this occasion had taken the weapon out to waste ground.

The defendant was ordered to carry out 100 hours Community Service.

Meanwhile, al ocal farmer and contractor pleaded guilty and were each fined £750, plus offenders levy of £15 at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court last Friday.

Hugh Sinton Curry, Creamery Road, Coleraine and John Lyons, Ballyrashane Road, Coleraine were fined for causing a polluting discharge to enter a waterway. The offence occured on March 21, last year.