Robber had been on two-day drink and drugs binge

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A 24-year-old man who robbed a newsagent’s and attempted to rob a bookmaker’s in west Belfast whilst brandishing an item which appeared to be a weapon, has been handed a five-year sentence.

Christopher Riley has very little recollection of the two incidents last November due to his level of intoxication following a two-day drink and drugs binge.

Belfast Crown Court heard after he was arrested around tea-time on November 16, Riley was so intoxicated that he was deemed unfit for interview until 7pm the following evening.

Sentencing Riley, Judge Patricia Smyth said that while she accepted the robbery and attempted robbery were unplanned and unsophisticated, there was a need to protect both small commercial businesses and their staff.

Riley will spend half of the sentence in prison, with the remaining two and a half years on supervised licence when he is released from jail.

Riley, who at the time of his arrest was living at a hostel on the Falls Road, committed the offences with a co-accused who was not before the court.