Men with 66 previous convictions jailed over burglaries
Two Belfast men were each jailed for 15 months on Monday over a series of burglaries.
Aaron Trotman Kingston of Cityway and Ryan Robert McFadden, formerly of Dunluce Avenue, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a spate of charges.
The men, both aged 21, admitted five burglaries between them along with an attempted burglary, attempted burglary with intent to steal and two counts of handling stolen goods.
McFadden, who has six previous convictions for drug offences, also pleaded guilty to possession of four diazepam tablets.
Prosecution counsel Mark Farrel told the court that the first burglary took place at 12.30am on January 20 this year at a house in Camden Street where the male householder reported an intruder in his property.
He told police a wallet containing a number of credit and debit cards, a Hugo Boss watch and a set of keys were stolen.
Three hours later a neighbour in the same street rang 999 and told how an intruder was trying to get into his bedroom. The owner said he shouted ‘police, police’ before the burglar fled.
The householder noticed that an Ipad, a Macbook laptop, a Go-Pro camera, an Armani watch, a Burberry wallet, a debit car, bus pass, £120 in notes and £8 in coins were missing.
Just after 7am on the same date, a woman reported an intruder at her home on the Lisburn Road. She told police that items taken in the burglary included a Playstation 4 controller, DVD box sets, a Logitech speaker, a guitar amp, a reusable yellow bag containing three bottles of Bucks Fizz and five bottles of San Miguel, a River Island handbag, a purse, a bank card, loyalty cards and £25 in cash.
Two flats were also burgled on the same day by McFadden at Fitzwilliam Street but nothing was taken, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC heard.
Mr Farrell said that during searches of the defendants’ addresses police recovered items which had been stolen in previous burglaries, including a sofa and a Samsung television.
The court heard that both defendants had 66 convictions each on their criminal records for offences such as burglary, theft and handling stolen goods.
Kingston’s defence barrister Stephen Toal said: “It is clear that the motivation for these offences was drugs from the very start.”
The court was told that while on remand for the burglaries, Kingston’s younger brother had died from a drugs overdose.
Mr Toal said that once released from prison, Kingston planned to move to London and get work with a cousin.
Defence barrister Joel Lindsay said McFadden had “got himself together in prison and says he has never felt better after giving up drugs”.
He added: “If you drew a circle on a map, all the burglaries took place within a short space from where he was living at the time.
“He got himself involved with a den of a vipers, a nest of vipers who were living together, using drugs and committing burglaries.”
Judge Miller said both defendants had been assessed as posing a high likelihood of reoffending but were not assessed as posing a danger to the public.
The judge told the court that an aggravating feature in Kingston’s case was the burglaries he committed took place just six weeks after his licence had expired after being sentenced to 12 months in jail for a previous burglary.
Giving each defendant 20 per cent discount for their guilty pleas, Judge Miller sentenced the men to 30 months, with 15 months to be spent in custody with a further 15 months on licence.
He said the sentences would start from the date of the commission of the burglary spree in south Belfast on January 20 this year.