Burglary accused youth granted bail

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A youth accused of burgling a 94-year-old woman must not be within 500 yards of any nursing home in the Province, a court ordered yesterday.

The prohibition was imposed as bail was granted to the 17-year-old accused of targeting vulnerable pensioners across Co Antrim.

He allegedly joined a 22-year-old woman in a campaign which also involved attempted raids on four different care homes between May 1-4.

Prosecutors claim the 94-year-old woman living in sheltered housing at Castlerocklands, Carrickfergus answered her door to be confronted by a male and female asking for a glass of water.

The pensioner’s attempt to close the door were thwarted by a foot being put against it, a previous court heard.

She went to get the drink, leaving her walking frame and handbag unattended.

When the woman returned the callers had gone and the bag containing £30 cash was said to be missing.

It was alleged the pair had also gone into her home, rummaging through a jewellery box but apparently taking nothing more.

Further incidents occurred at four nursing homes in Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Lisburn.

On each occasion a male and female challenged by members of staff claimed they were on the premises looking for work.

Probes into other suspected incidents involving the same alleged modus operandi were said to be continuing.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named, and co-accused Zakelina Sarkozlova, a Slovakian of Martin Park in Newtownabbey, deny charges of burglary and four counts of attempted burglary. Both accused were initially refused bail at the High Court last month.

Sarkozlova remains in custody, but the teenager was released under conditions including a curfew, electronic monitoring, reporting to police and a £1,000 cash surety.