Northern Ireland

Burglary spree father-and-son team jailed

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Media captionJames and John Hanrahan were at the "top end" of rural crime, says Ch Insp Joe McMinn

Crimes against vulnerable people in three NI counties is down by a third now a father-and-son criminal team are behind bars, police have said.

James Hanrahan, 46, and his son John, 28, have been jailed for a string of crimes between October 2017 and March 2018

The father was sentenced to five years and his son to four years in prison.

They targeted the homes of elderly and vulnerable victims in Counties Down, Armagh and Tyrone, police said.

Both men also admitted assaulting people who confronted them.

The men will spend half their sentences in prison and other half on licence. They have both already served 15 months on remand.

John Hanrahan, of Nursery Drive in Newry, pleaded guilty to crimes in Crossgar, Moy, Middletown and Portadown.

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Image caption CCTV and DNA evidence linked the Hanrahans to the crimes, as did a black Audi driven by the men

James Hanrahan, of the same address, pleaded guilty to involvement in the incidents in Moy and Middletown, as well as entering a house in Hilltown and assaulting two people.

"This pair of individuals were among the biggest players within this type of crime," said Newry, Mourne and Down Ch Insp Joe McMinn.

"There has been a 30% drop in this type of crime against vulnerable members of our community."

In his sentencing remarks at Newry Crown Court, the judge said the pair were "engaged in a campaign of burglary, sometimes with others, that was serious and could have been more serious as weapons were used".

CCTV and DNA evidence linked the Hanrahans to the crimes, as well as two Audi cars.

On 26 February, the pair carried out an aggravated burglary at a house in Moy, County Tyrone, where one of the Audis was spotted.

Less than an hour later, the men were at a house in Middletown, County Armagh where they were captured on CCTV before and after breaking into a house in the village.

On 7 March, the son burgled a house in Portadown.

Later that day, his father was in the County Down village of Hilltown where he became involved in an altercation with a member of the public who had seen them burgle a house.

He fled, but a short time later was arrested near the south Armagh village of Forkhill after police used a stinger-type device to stop the black Audi car he was driving.

A trial had been scheduled to take place this month, with nearly 50 witnesses set to give evidence, but on 24 May both men pleaded guilty to a number of charges.