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Drug addict accused of hijacking car allegedly set fire to it after custody release, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 16/08/2016

The accused was described as a self-confessed codeine addict.
The accused was described as a self-confessed codeine addict.

A drug addict accused of hijacking a car and robbing a pharmacy allegedly set fire to the vehicle hours after he was released from custody, a court heard.

Police claimed Iain Hynes torched the Volkswagen Passat in a bid to destroy evidence linked to the earlier hold up in south Belfast.

The 31-year-old is charged with possessing an imitation firearm and taking eight boxes of codeine pills in a robbery at the Lisburn Road chemist on August 4.

Hynes, of Donegall Road in the city, is also alleged to have carried out the hijacking in the nearby Dunluce Avenue area on the same date.

On Tuesday, Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was arrested and questioned about those offences last weekend.

But seven hours after he was released on police bail he was detained again for allegedly burning the Passat before it could be recovered.

He faces further charges of arson and perverting the course of justice in connection with that incident on August 14.

Opposing bail, a detective constable claimed: "Police believe he intentionally went out to destroy evidence by setting fire to the hijacked vehicle."

Hynes was described as a self-confessed codeine addict, with the drug said to cause him short-term memory loss.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was also told his address is less than a mile from the pharmacy targeted in the raid.

Defence solicitor Denis Moloney argued that his client had been candid about his addiction, but denied all the charges.

"He gave a full and frank timeline as to where he was and who he was with," the lawyer added.

Refusing bail, however, Judge Bagnall cited the risk of re-offending or interfering with witnesses.

Hynes was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on September 13.

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