Down man Stephen Thompson branded 'danger to the public'
A Co Down man has been remanded into custody after appearing in court on firearms, drugs and motoring charges.
Stephen Thompson (41), from Main Street in Greyabbey, was yesterday branded a "danger to the public" by police.
He is facing a total of 13 charges linked to an incident that took place in east Belfast in February when a silver Peugeot Coupe crashed into a garden and caused damage to a wall and gate.
Following the collision at Ravenswood Park the driver made off from the scene, and when the vehicle was searched by police, officers recovered a quantity of drugs and an air pistol.
The father-of-three was arrested on Thursday by officers from the PSNI's Auto Crime Team and was taken to Musgrave Street police station for questioning.
Thompson was charged with offences including possessing a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence on February 23, 2019.
He was also charged with possessing both a class B and a class C drug with intent to supply. He also faces a number of motoring charges.
Yesterday Thompson appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court, where he confirmed he understood the nature of the charges.
A police constable told District Judge Greg McCourt that he believed he could connect Thompson to the charges. The officer also said police were objecting to Thompson being released on bail.
The objections, the officer said, were due to concerns over reoffending and fears Thompson would not attend further court hearings.
The policeman said Thompson had an extensive criminal record with "relevant offences", and that bench warrants had been issued in the past.
He concluded by saying: "We believe he is a danger to the public because he continues to drive whilst disqualified."
Solicitor Pat Kelly, representing Thompson, spoke of "forensic issues" linked to the car crash which he said "will take a considerable time" to be dealt with.
Revealing Thompson is denying all the charges against him, Mr Kelly said that while his client's fingerprint was found on the car's steering wheel, he admitted "having previous contact with the vehicle, but not on that occasion".
The solicitor also pointed out there was no forensic link between Thompson and the drugs.
Urging the judge to grant bail, Mr Kelly said Thompson would "adhere to any conditions imposed".
District Judge McCourt responded by branding the charges faced by Thompson "serious", adding the accused "would appear not to abide by conditions".
Telling Thompson "I am quite satisfied, given your record, that you will reoffend", he also voiced concerns about a failure to "turn up to court or comply with police bail".
He refused to release Thompson on bail, but said the defendant could apply to the High Court for it. Thompson was then remanded into custody and told his case will be listed again, via video-link, on August 1.