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Man accused of stealing £40k says it was stolen money, court told

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Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A man accused of taking £40,000 from a friend's bedroom claims it was already stolen money, a court heard today.

Stephen Sweeny is charged with carrying out the cash burglary last month at the woman's home in Newcastle, Co Down.

The 46-year-old was granted bail to care for his elderly parents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweeny, of Burren Meadow in Newcastle, allegedly carried out the raid on February 16.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he has admitted the theft of the money, but denies it was a burglary.

He was said to have been a regular visitor to the woman's home at Donard Park, lifting the cash from the bedroom while she was out.

The money has never been recovered.

District Judge Mark Hamill asked why £40,000 was in the house in the first place.

Defence barrister Paul Burns replied: "The defendant told police it was already stolen money."

Seeking bail for his client to live with his mother and father in Belfast, he said Sweeny was worried about how they will cope in the Covid-19 crisis.

"If things were to turn particularly bad he may not have contact with one or both parents again," counsel added.

With no violence in the alleged offence, Judge Hamill agreed to Sweeny's release from custody.

He banned the accused from entering Newcastle or contacting the alleged victim.

Belfast Telegraph