Father and son to stand trial over Co Antrim jewellery thefts

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A father and son are to stand trial accused of jewellery raids on homes across Co Antrim, a judge has ordered.

Stephen McIlwaine Sr, 46, and Stephen McIlwaine Jr, 20, appeared together at Belfast Magistrates’ Court jointly charged with four counts of burglary.

The pair, both of Shanvis Court in the city, allegedly broke into the properties on dates between September 11 and October 8, 2017.

Jewellery was stolen from dwellings at Millbank Road in Templepatrick, Willcroft Meadows in Ballyclare, Carntall Road and Old Manse Road – both in Newtownabbey, according to the charges.

They are also accused of taking cash, iPods, a laptop computer, mobile phones, wallets, identity documents, perfume and reading glasses from the houses targeted.

Three of the burglaries allegedly occurred on the same day.

Both men are further charged with two counts of receiving stolen goods.

At a preliminary enquiry hearing they confirmed that they understood the allegations against them, but declined to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage.

Defence lawyers did not contest prosecution submissions that both McIlwaines have a case to answer.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall then granted an application to have them returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

She remanded Stephen McIlwaine Sr back into custody, and released Stephen McIlwaine Jr on continuing bail.