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DNA match from discarded cigarette links man to multiple thefts from cars in Laurelvale

He was linked to the offence after a cigarette butt located near one of the vehicles was forensically examined and produced a match for his DNA

A Gilford man who stole items from multiple cars in Laurelvale has been sentenced to probation and community service.

Sentencing the 45-year-old, the deputy district judge said: “Your very first offence was in the youth court in Ballymena for theft from a vehicle. Your counsel has said that you are ashamed of your behaviour but that is hard to believe given the repeating of offences.”

Liam Martin Nolan, of Hillside, appeared for sentencing on six counts of theft from a vehicle at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 9, 2019, at 4.35am, police received a report of a suspicious male in the vicinity of Laurel Heights in Laurelvale.

Officers later determined that six vehicles had been entered in the Laurel Heights and Old Mill Manor area of the village.

Items stolen from these vehicles included over £230 in cash, bank cards, purses, a Bluetooth sat nav, gym gloves, cigarettes, a Nintendo Switch case, vehicle registration documents and a torch.

This defendant was subsequently linked to the offence after a cigarette butt located near one of the vehicles was forensically examined and produced a match for his DNA.

Nolan was arrested and interviewed. During this he denied smoking that brand of cigarette or having any knowledge of the Laurelvale area.

The prosecuting lawyer informed the court that the defendant appeared with a “voluminous record”.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “I am asking that he is given full credit in the way in which he has met the matter, which is over two years ago now.

“He has no recollection but accepts it was him. He had been at a party and he has a longstanding alcohol problem which has blighted much of his life.”

He added: “There had in the past been a gap of four-and-a-half or five years, there is nothing else pending. He is ashamed of his actions and understands the court will see these as nasty offences while others were sleeping.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “You have pleaded guilty to this serious theft from motor vehicles, which occurred a few years ago.

“You failed to co-operate with police at the time but you have now seen the error of your ways. Your record shows you have a clear history of this type of offending.”

He continued: “You very first offence was in the youth court in Ballymena for theft from a vehicle. Your counsel has said that you are ashamed of your behaviour but that is hard to believe given the repeating of offences.”

Nolan was sentenced to an enhanced combination order consisting of 100 hours community service and 12 months probation.

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