Boy, 12, refused bail over 'violent offending' in Cookstown

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Police said the boy had committed offences "at the top of the scale"

A 12-year-old boy has been remanded in custody after police said he was behind a spate of offending escalating "to the top end of the scale".

The child, who cannot be named due to his age, appeared in court on Monday, accused of attempted robbery, burglary and possessing an offensive weapon.

The alleged offences took place in Cookstown in County Tyrone on Saturday.

A judge refused to grant bail, saying that the court "must protect the public and indeed [the child's] own safety".

Dungannon Magistrates' Court was told that the boy tried to rob an off-licence on Chapel Street in Cookstown at about 13:30 BST on Saturday.

A police officer said the boy was armed with a claw hammer and threatened a shop assistant, demanding that she open the till and give him cash.

The woman activated an alarm and the boy fled the scene.

He later entered another business in the town with intent to steal, causing significant damage in the process, the officer added.

Police found the boy at the scene and he admitted gaining entry by smashing a glass panel.

'Rubbered' on drugs

The boy's father met police at Dungannon Police Station and it was agreed that his son would be released on bail.

But within minutes of leaving the station, the father returned to tell police that the boy had jumped from the car they were travelling in and fled.

The boy was rearrested and told police he "had done" an off-licence on Saturday and had been "rubbered" on drugs during the later incident.

A police officer told the court that they opposed bail due to the boy's high likelihood of offending.

It emerged that the child has been arrested seven times since September last year.

"The latest offences being committed are now at the top of the scale," the officer told the court, adding that the boy posed a "risk to the public" and is believed to be abusing drugs.

The boy was ordered to appear before court again this month.