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Empty money box allegedly found in accused's garden shed, court told

Five people were arrested following a raid in Great Victoria Street in Belfast on Tuesday morning.

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Detectives investigating the report of an armed robbery of a cash in transit van at Great Victoria Street, in Belfast City Centre on Tuesday 26th January, have arrested four men and a woman. Pacemaker.

Detectives investigating the report of an armed robbery of a cash in transit van at Great Victoria Street, in Belfast City Centre on Tuesday 26th January, have arrested four men and a woman. Pacemaker.

Detectives investigating the report of an armed robbery of a cash in transit van at Great Victoria Street, in Belfast City Centre on Tuesday 26th January, have arrested four men and a woman. Pacemaker.

An empty money box was allegedly found in a garden shed at the home of a man accused of a cash-in-transit robbery in Belfast, a court heard today.

Police claimed a second defendant was discovered hiding under a duvet at the property in the west of the city.

Martin Braniff, 44, and Keith Murray, 40, were among five people arrested following the raid at Great Victoria Street on Tuesday morning.

They appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court jointly charged with robbing Tesco of £3,480 in cash.

A detective said a crowbar was used to threaten a security guard into handing over the money box during the heist.

The raiders escaped in a getaway car believed to have crashed a short time later on the Monagh Bypass.

Two other men detained at the scene of the collision remain in custody.

Braniff was arrested at his home on Monagh Drive, the court heard.

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Police at the scene of a crash on the Monagh bypass West Belfast. The incident happened around 11pm. Two men were arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit robbery. Picture Colm O'Reilly / Sunday Life

Police at the scene of a crash on the Monagh bypass West Belfast. The incident happened around 11pm. Two men were arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit robbery. Picture Colm O'Reilly / Sunday Life

Police at the scene of a crash on the Monagh bypass West Belfast. The incident happened around 11pm. Two men were arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit robbery. Picture Colm O'Reilly / Sunday Life

During cross-examination the detective confirmed that a money container located in an unlocked shed at the rear of the property was empty.

Defence solicitor Feargal MacElhatton argued Braniff is not connected to the box by any fingerprint or DNA evidence.

"He can't be put at the scene of the robbery, or at the scene of the (crashed) vehicle," Mr MacElhatton stressed.

Opposing bail for both defendants, the detective claimed attempts could be made to hide the stolen money which remains missing.

"There's a danger to the public, this was a robbery carried out in the midst of a pandemic," she added.

Braniff also failed to inform police that Murray, of Upper Suffolk Road in Belfast, was present in his house.

"The co-accused was hiding under a duvet in a bedroom," the detective contended.

Despite police objections both defendants were granted bail.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall imposed a curfew, electronic tagging and banned them from contacting any co-accused or injured parties.

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old woman charged with possessing a Class A drug as part of the same investigation is due to appear in court next month.

Belfast Telegraph


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