Serial burglar fails in bid to stay out late

Court
Court

An alleged serial burglar accused of targeting more than 60 homes across Greater Belfast has failed in a legal bid for permission to stay out late at night.

Samuel Crawford, 30, appeared before the city’s magistrates court on Monday on a total of 81 charges.

He faces 31 counts of burglary, six burglaries with intent to steal, and a further 27 attempted burglaries with intent to steal.

Crawford, of Glasgow Street in Belfast, is also accused of taking a motor vehicle without authority on 12 occasions, four thefts, and going equipped for theft.

The alleged offences were committed between September 2015 and August 2017 at addresses in Belfast, Glengormley and Newtownabbey.

He is accused of stealing cash, games consoles, computers, iPads, handbags, purses, spectacles, a dictaphone and a collection of CDs.

One alleged incident involved the theft of jackets, an umbrella and 10 bottles of wine.

Cigarettes, a bottle of beer and two knives were stolen from another house, according to the charge sheet.

A scheduled preliminary enquiry to establish if Crawford will go on trial was put back until a later date.

With the accused currently on bail, sought to have his midnight curfew relaxed to 2am on Saturday nights.

Pressed for a reason behind the application, defence solicitor Denis Moloney highlighted the length of time his client has been on the conditions.

He stressed Crawford only wanted to be able to stay out later one night a week.

But opposing the legal bid, a police officer pointed to the times when the alleged break-ins took place.

“There are 81 offences, burglaries or attempted burglaries overnight,” he added.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall told Mr Moloney he had made the best possible attempt.

Refusing the application, however, she confirmed: “Without some proof he’s going to be working during these hours, and given these domestic burglaries occurred overnight, he has absolutely no chance of having his bail varied (to 2am).”