Belfast Telegraph

Alleged serial thief 'hid inside bed frame', court hears

Lee Whelan appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)
Lee Whelan appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)

By Alan Erwin

Police searching for an alleged serial thief found him hiding inside the frame of a bed, a court has heard.

Lee Whelan is accused of stealing a £349 television from Asda and two bottles of wine from a Wineflair off-licence.

The 23-year-old, of Duncairn Parade in Belfast, appeared before the city's Magistrates Court charged with carrying out the thefts last month.

Opposing bail, a PSNI officer claimed Whelan poses a high risk of committing further offences.

"We believe he's almost unmanageable," the constable said.

"He evades police; when arrested most recently he was found hidden inside a double bed frame."

Whelan is alleged to have stolen the wine on August 3, and then taken the TV set on August 24.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner disputed the evidence connecting his client to the alleged Asda theft.

Mr Toner also told the court Whelan's mental health as deteriorated since he was the victim of a "very serious incident".

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Fiona Bagnall insisted she had to take into account other issues.

"I totally agree with the constable's assessment that he's utterly unmanageable on bail," she held.

"There's a very strong likelihood of re-offending. The very fact he was found inside the frame of a double bed, hiding to evade being arrested, perfectly illustrates where we are with this man."

She remanded Whelan in custody to appear again by video-link in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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