Man jailed after attempted Belfast restaurant theft

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A 22-year-old Belfast man who tried to rob money from the till of a city centre restaurant has been given a 30-month sentence after appearing in court.

Dylan Gerrard Smyth was one of two men who targeted the Ox Cave restaurant on May 20 last year.

During the attempted robbery, he grabbed the manageress and also tried to steal her iPad.

Smyth, from Henrietta Street in the city, was told by Judge Gordon Kerr QC that he will serve half his sentence in prison, and half on supervised licence when he is released.

Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins revealed that the restaurant on Belfast’s Oxford Street was targeted at around 8.45pm by two men – one of whom held the door open while Smyth approached the bar area.

Smyth then demanded that the manageress open the till during which he grabbed her and pulled at her arm.

He also made a grab for her iPad.

Smyth and the second man then fled the scene, with the manageress giving chase.

Mr Jenkins said police who were on patrol in the area saw two males fleeing, and while one man was not apprehended, Smyth was caught outside Laganside Courts.

During police interviews, he gave a mix of “no comment” responses and denials about his involvement.

However, he subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery.

The court also heard he has 27 previous convictions, almost half of which are for violent offences.

The prosecutor said that while the manageress was not physically injured, she was “shaken and frightened” by what had happened.

A defence barrister accepted the offence was “serious” and said Smyth had “no recollection” of the incident itself.

Pointing out that no threats were issued by Smyth, the barrister spoke of a “lack of planning”.

He also revealed that Smyth was a man with a moderate learning disability who had a “poor understanding” of the demands of adult life, and who has a history of both drugs and alcohol abuse.