Belfast Telegraph

Social media posts leads to Belfast man's arrest, court hears

The judge refused bail.
The judge refused bail.

By Alan Erwin

A man charged with breaking into two homes in north Belfast was allegedly identified after one victim posted footage on social media, the High Court heard.

Brian Adams, 32, is accused of stealing watches, cash and Pregabalin tablets during raids on the properties last month.

He was charged with the burglaries just days after becoming the first man to be prosecuted in Northern Ireland for having the prescription medication linked to more than 30 deaths.

Bail was refused due to the risk of potential re-offending.

Prosecutors said a woman returned to her Shandarragh Park home on March 19 to discover an intruder running down the stairs.

She confronted and grabbed him when he slipped and fell.

However, the raider still managed to exit the house and escape, despite being pursued by the woman's husband.

A gold Michael Kors watch valued at £200, £90 in cash and two other watches were stolen.

Two days later a Mark Jacobs watch worth £140, a Bose speaker and medication including 30 Pregabalin tablets were stolen from a house on Dunmore Walk.

The homeowners checked CCTV cameras and discovered a man had broken in, the court heard.

A Crown lawyer said: "This footage was shared on social media, and the occupant of the first house recognised the individual at Dunmore Walk as the same individual she had apprehended in her home."

Police viewed the CCTV footage and identified Adams, of Mervue Court in Belfast, as the alleged intruder, according to the prosecution.

He was arrested but denied involvement, claiming it couldn't have been him because he was electronically tagged at the time.

But the court was told that the security company claims Adams was not subject to the monitoring equipment during the period of the burglaries.

Defence counsel Conn O'Neill disputed the use of social media, suggesting that it may have "contaminated" the case.

"My understanding is one household send footage to another household and said 'This might be your man'," Mr O'Neill submitted.

"Funny enough there's a confirmation 'Oh yes, this is the one'.

"It's amazing they didn't tell us his date of birth and that he's a Liverpool fan - that could be picked up off social media."

The barrister also confirmed Adams has been separately charged with possession of Pregabalin.

He was arrested for that alleged offence last week -  just 24 hours after the anti-epileptic medication, also known by the brand name Lyrica or street slang 'bud', was classified as a Class C drug.

Adams has already claimed that he took the pills for pain relief.

Ruling that he must remain in custody, Mr Justice Colton said: "This is simply not an appropriate applicant for bail."

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