Serial thief ‘feels under threat in Poleglass’


A serial thief who raided shops and stole a van feels under threat in his own neighbourhood, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors also said Patrick Ward was unable to name all the stores he had targeted in one crime spree.

The 27-year-old, of Millpond Glen in the Dunmurry area of Belfast, was sentenced to a total of 11 months in jail after admitting new offences last week.

Details emerged as Ward, who has nearly 50 previous convictions, failed in a bid to secure bail ahead of an appeal against the prison term imposed.

His latest offences include taking and driving away a vehicle without consent, and having no insurance or driving licence.

Ward was arrested for stealing a Ford Transit parked on the Old Golfcourse Road in Dunmurry in March last year.

“He made full admissions to all offences, stating that he had seen the vehicle with keys in the ignition and decided to take it,” a prosecution lawyer said.

“He also stated that he did not want to stay in the Poleglass area because he felt under threat, he knew it was wrong and apologised.”

In January this year Ward also carried out nine thefts at a shopping mall in Lisburn, Co Antrim, the court heard.

He was stopped with carrier bags full of goods valued at £153 and a pair of pliers linked to a further offence of going equipped for theft.

“He could not name all the shops he had stolen from but confirmed he had been in numerous shops in the Bow Street Mall,” the prosecutor added.

With his challenge to the sentence due to be heard later this month, defence counsel argued that he should be allowed out of prison to continue with separate probation work.

But refusing bail, Mr Justice Stephens held there was little prospect of Ward securing a non-custodial term on appeal.