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Kildare man 'burgled 20 homes, shops and youth club in crime spree across Northern Ireland', court told

By Alan Erwin

Published 08/06/2015

Belfast High Court
Belfast High Court

An alleged burglar accused of 20 separate incidents in a 72-hour crime spree has four different aliases, the High Court heard today.

John Connors was allegedly part of a two-man team who ransacked homes, commercial premises and a youth club in Co Down, prosecutors said.

Four elderly women were said to be among those targeted by the raiders.

Connors, from Laire in Kilcock, Co Kildare, was arrested with his co-accused after police stopped a 4x4 vehicle towing a caravan allegedly stolen from one property.

The 35-year-old farm labourer faces a total of 30 charges, including multiple counts of burglary, attempted theft, going equipped for theft and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was refused bail due to the risk of further offences being committed.

Connors was detained in Rostrevor on January 23.

A previous court heard the charges against him relate to 20 different reports to police in the three days up to his arrest.

In one alleged break-in at Killeavy a purse containing £75 was stolen from the home of an 80-year-old woman.

The same day another pensioner of the same age had her house at Hilltown ransacked while she was out, taking her credit union book.

Another pensioner in Rostrevor had approximately £900 stolen.

Within 24 hours a lady in her late 70s was said to have confronted an intruder, striking him on the head after he came through her front door in Annalong.

Other domestic burglaries and attempted thefts were carried out in Newcastle, Saintfield, Banbridge, Katesbridge and Ballynahinch, the court heard.

Electronic equipment including a laptop, camera, iPod and iPhone were all taken.

A youth club in Kilkeel had Playstation and Xbox games consoles stolen from it, according to the prosecution.

Those systems were recovered from the 4x4 towing the caravan stolen in Rostrevor.

Opposing Connors' latest bid to be released, prosecution counsel claimed today: "The applicant has two aliases in England and two aliases in Northern Ireland."

She also argued that he has no ties to the jurisdiction.

Joe Brolly, defending, argued that there is no evidence linking Connors to 26 of the offences.

The barrister contended that his client was a drunken passenger when the 4x4 was stopped by police.

"There's no DNA evidence, no fingerprint evidence of any kind, and no witness identifies him," Mr Brolly added.

But refusing the application, Mr Justice Weir said: "It seems to me there's a well-developed concern if admitted to bail he would commit further offences."

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