Alcoholic jailed for Co Down attempted robbery with fake gun

The case was heard at Downpatrick Court House
The case was heard at Downpatrick Court House

A chronic alcoholic who tried to rob a seaside petrol station with a fake gun while drunk has been jailed for 18 months.

Jailing Simon Frederick Thomas Larmour, 27, at Downpatrick Crown Court, a judge told him: “You need to stop drinking full stop otherwise you will end up with longer custodial sentences.’’

Larmour, of Rathvarna Drive, Lisburn, pleaded guilty to a single charge of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery.

Sam Magee, prosecuting, told the court that staff were working at the Maxol Station in Ballyholme, Co Down on the evening of June 27, 2014 when a male was noticed entering the premises wearing a hooded top.

When he approached the counter, Larmour asked an assistant: “Any money in the till?’’

Mr Magee said the assistant told Larmour there was “no money in the till’’.

After appearing to reach for something in his belt, Larmour said: “Are you sure about that?”

The assistant again told him the till was empty and believed Larmour was “showing him an imitation firearm’’ in his waistband.

Larmour left the petrol station empty handed and local police were alerted.

A short time later Larmour was observed by residents of nearby Prospect Road in the garden of a house.

When approached by the occupier as he changed clothes from a gym bag, the man noticed that Larmour was in possession of a firearm.

Larmour, who was resident in a local Simon Community hostel at the time, was later located to a street in Bangor and the firearm was found under a parked car. A quantity of blank firing rounds were also seized during a follow-up search.

Judge Grant heard that the shop assistant “still feels nervous” and had found it difficult sleeping following the incident.

The court was told that Larmour had 59 previous convictions from 27 court appearances accumulated since the age of 17 including offences of assault, common assault on police, disorderly behaviour, resisting police, rioting and 10 convictions for theft.

Niamh McCartney, defending, said Larmour’s life had gone on a downward spiral following his parents’ marital break-up leading to his criminal record starting at the age of 17.

“He has a chronic alcohol addiction at the age of 27. He lives a lonely lifestyle. As he says: ‘He has no friends; just users’.

“On that evening he was extremely intoxicated. He is remorseful for the effects this incident had on the person behind the counter.

“He does not want somebody else’s life to be ruined in the way that he has ruined his,” added Ms McCartney.

Judge Grant said Larmour told a psychiatrist that he would only occasionally drink alcohol when he was released from prison.

But he warned Larmour: “You have to stop drinking full stop. You can’t drink alcohol.

“It is clear, if not almost inevitable, that if you don’t stop drinking you are going to be back before the courts and receiving ever increasing custodial sentences.’’

He handed down Larmour a three-year determinate sentence, saying 18 months would be spent in custody and the remaining 18 months on supervised licence following his release.

The judge also granted a destruction order for the imitation firearm and the blank cartridges.