Belfast Telegraph

Serial burglar with over 200 convictions handed 15 months jail time

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Belfast man who appeared in court with over 200 criminal convictions has been jailed for a spate of domestic burglaries.

Martin Alexander Nelson was handed a 'global' sentence of 42 months for a total of 22 offences linked to break-ins carried out over a three-month period.

Between November 2015 and February 2016, the 37-year old broke into homes in Belfast as well as Newtownabbey, Moira, Bangor, Holywood and Glengormley.

During one of the incidents last December, he stole a Ford Focus from a house in Moira, which he later crashed into another vehicle Belfast's Crumlin Road before fleeing the scene of the collision.

Nelson, from Boyne Court, was handed the sentence by Judge Gordon Kerr QC, who told Belfast Crown Court it was his belief that Nelson - who has 216 previous convictions on his criminal record - offended "to fund a lifestyle that he could not afford" linked to drink and drugs.

Judge Kerr revealed that at the time of Nelson's offending, he was unemployed, living with his parents and was abusing both drink and drugs. The judge also revealed that in 2008 Nelson fled the Northern Ireland for a period after experiencing "difficulties" with paramilitaries.

The court heard that whilst on remand for the 22 offences, Nelson has "complied with the regime" and has passed a number of drugs tests. The father of three has also expressed "a desire to change".

Sentencing Nelson to 42 months for the "catalogue of offending", Judge Kerr told Nelson he would serve 15 months of the sentence in prison, with the remainder spent on supervised licence when he is released from jail.

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