Northern Ireland

Four arrested after spate of thefts in counties Down and Armagh

Four men have been arrested by police investigating a spate of car thefts and burglaries in counties Down and Armagh over a 24-hour period.

The thefts took place in Killinchy, Markethill and Keady. The men were detained in Castlewellan, close to where a stolen car was found on fire.

Police said it was a "resource intense operation" during which officers on both sides of the border were deployed.

One of the men is 21-year-old and the others are all aged 23.

The first theft took place on Monday morning when a 4X4 vehicle was stolen in Killinchy, County Down.

Stinger device

Later that night, police spotted the 4X4 in Markethill, County Armagh, shortly after a burglary at a hairdresser's in the village.

The stolen vehicle then travelled towards Keady, where it drove through a police checkpoint.

Police deployed a tyre stinger device in a bid to stop the 4X4 but it drove on and was later found abandoned in Market Street.

At around the same time, police were informed of a burglary in a convenience shop in Keady and of the theft of a silver Ford Focus at Lake Road in the village.

At this point, officers alerted An Garda Síochána (Irish police) as they believed the stolen car was travelling towards the border.

The stolen Ford was eventually found, on fire, in Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down.

The four men were arrested outside Castlewellan shortly before 04:00 GMT, when officers stopped a blue Peugeot and recovered a sum of cash from the vehicle.

The three 23-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of burglary while the 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of speeding and handling stolen goods.