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Antrim man Stilges who drove stolen car through Belfast International Airport security barrier jailed

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Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport

PA

Belfast International Airport

A Co Antrim man who crashed through a security barrier at Belfast International Airport in a stolen car was handed a 12-month sentence yesterday.

Padraig Stilges from Glenavy Parade, Glenavy, was also banned from driving for two years after he admitted four offences dating back to January.

Judge Donna McColgan QC told Stilges the sentence will be divided between six months in custody and six months on licence.

Although no details of the incident emerged during sentencing at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, a previous hearing was told the crash occurred following a police chase.

On January 3 this year a Citroen C3 was stolen in Ballymena and a short time later the vehicle was observed by police in Antrim.

Officers activated blue lights but the vehicle failed to stop and a chase ensued during which the Citreon was driven dangerously and at high speed. The stolen vehicle was then driven into the airport, where it crashed through a security barrier before being 'stung' by police at nearby Ballyrobin Road. Stilges was arrested at the scene.

The 22-year-old appeared at the remote court hearing via a video-link with Maghaberry, where he was arraigned and sentenced on the same day.

Defence barrister Sean Mullan asked the judge to take into consideration his client's guilty plea and relative youth.

Mr Mullan said Stilges has shown insight into his offending and has since shown remorse and regret for his behaviour.

As she passed sentence, Judge McColgan said: "It is with some regret that I see that, in spite of the defendant's clear difficulty with drugs, he has never received any treatment for this addiction.

"I think treatment for his addiction may well make a very big difference in his life, if that can be arranged somehow after the sentencing procedure is complete."

Belfast Telegraph