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Co Down arrests after 'theft of parcel left on doorstep'

People have been urged to be vigilant after two men were arrested over the theft of a parcel from outside a house in Co Down.

They were held following the incident in Drumaness.

In footage on social media recorded on Tuesday, both men denied accusations from a member of the public that they were following delivery vans and stealing parcels left at properties.

CCTV footage also posted on social media showed the two suspects at the Drumaness house earlier in the afternoon. The footage shows a male putting the parcel in a white van.

A subsequent photo showed three PSNI officers speaking to one of the males as a number of unopened packages lay on the footpath after the pair were asked to open their van.

Delivery companies have been extremely busy in the run-up to Christmas as many presents have been ordered online due to the pandemic.

Police confirmed that a man aged 36 was arrested on suspicion of theft, while a 63-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting theft.

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It came after a report was received of the theft of a parcel from outside a house in Co Down.

Both men were taken into custody for questioning and were later released on bail pending further enquiries.

In the video, the member of the public questioning the pair accused the older male, who was driving the van, of just following a black van to a house and picking up the parcel that was delivered.

When asked which company they were delivering parcels for, both men failed to directly answer the question, with the younger male asking: "What are you talking about?"

Newry, Mourne and Down SDLP councillor Hugh Gallagher said he has been informed of similar reports of packages being stolen in and around Drumaness.

"Coming up to Christmastime, people seem to be following parcel deliverers and hoping that the deliverer will leave it outside and they will then try and take it. It's a worrying trend," he said.

"It has happened a few times in this area and a few people have said to me that parcels have been taken and people have been following the couriers.

"People just need to be careful coming up especially to this time of year.

"Even over the Christmas period people need to be careful, because with the deliveries they're going to be arriving over the Christmas holidays anyway.

"I would encourage everyone to be very vigilant and keep an eye out on things, especially with strange cars following them around."

From January to November of this year the PSNI recorded a total of 3,225 residential burglaries.

The highest number was in Belfast (1,163); followed by Newry, Mourne and Down (299); Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (294); Derry City and Strabane (270), and Antrim and Newtownabbey (229).

The most common months for burglaries in 2020 was January (405) and November (321).

Belfast Telegraph

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