Belfast Telegraph

Belfast cabbie used taxi to steal Tesco TVs and B&Q products, court told

A taxi driver allegedly used his car to repeatedly raid a supermarket for televisions and electrical equipment, the High Court has heard.

Stephen McAuley is charged with nine separate thefts from Tesco, and also twice stealing high-value goods from a B&Q branch.

The 41-year-old, of Lancaster Street in Belfast, is charged with stealing items worth more than £7,000 between January 31 and March 4 this year.

Refusing bail on Tuesday, a judge said the alleged offences involved "a remarkable, systematic course of criminal behaviour".

McAuley and a co-accused allegedly used the same modus operandi every time they targeted a Tesco store at Newtownbreda, south east Belfast.

A Crown lawyer described one incident where security tags were removed from two TV sets valued at £658.

She claimed they were then taken out and put in the back of McAuley's taxi.

McAuley was identified after the cab firm was contacted.

CCTV footage from Tesco revealed a number of similar high-value thefts involving the same taxi, the court heard.

Two other incidents related to thefts of products worth £1,236 and £1,298 from a B&Q store in Newry.

Defence counsel Michael Ward disclosed that McAuley was dismissed by the taxi company, but is now working for another operator in Belfast.

Bail was denied due to the risk of re-offending.

The judge, Sir Anthony Hart, said: "There's clearly a good prima facie case against the applicant of having engaged in a remarkable, systematic course of criminal behaviour over a period of about five-six weeks.

"The allegations are he was taking part, providing the vehicle and driving the vehicle for himself and a co-accused to steal increasingly large amounts of electrical equipment."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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