Burglary accused ‘smashed into cars in Boxing Day crime spree’

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An alleged burglar has been remanded into custody accused of crashing into other cars during a Boxing Day crime spree.

Lee Whelan, 21, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court to face a total of 22 charges related to a series of collisions in the north of the city.

Two people were allegedly injured and at least three vehicles damaged in the Crumlin Road area.

Whelan, of Manor Street in Belfast, was arrested by police investigating reports that a Ford Kuga stolen from an address in the city was being driven recklessly and at speed near the Ardoyne shops.

He is charged with stealing car keys and money during a burglary at Rosebank Court in the city, dangerous driving, and driving when unfit through drink or drugs.

Whelan is further accused of taking the Kuga causing injury and damage to Nissan, Ford and Hyundai cars.

Other alleged offences include failures to stop, remain at the scene or report an accident where injury was caused, and disorderly behaviour at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast.

Due to the extent of the charges full details were not read out in court.

But Whelan confirmed he was aware of the allegations against him. Asked if he understood the prosecution case, he replied: “Yes.”

Defence solicitor Ciaran Toner put no questions to the investigating police officer.

Mr Toner added that his client was not seeking bail at this stage.

Remanding Whelan in custody, District Judge Nigel Broderick ordered him to appear again by video-link on January 25.