Man jailed for burgling a flat in north Belfast was caught wearing socks on his hands

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A 24-year old man caught by police burgling a flat in north Belfast wearing socks on his hands has been jailed for 14 and a half months.

Belfast Crown Court that during the burglary, Michael Leo McMillan "stopped to engage" in inhaling aerosol from an air freshener.

McMillan - who appeared in court with 70 previous convictions and whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry - was handed the sentence for burgling and ransacking an apartment in the Duncairn area of the city last May.

The court heard McMillan was so noisy during the break-in that he alerted the occupant of the flat below, who contacted police just before midnight on May 22, 2017.

When police arrived at the scene, they caught McMillan in the property and wearing socks on his hands. He was searched and had several items belonging to the householder, which were later returned.

Prosecuting barrister Simon Jenkins revealed McMillan used a fire extinguisher to smash the front door of the flat. Once inside, he caused further damage, and also left his iPhone in a bedroom.

When arrested, McMillan confirmed the phone was his, but refused to answer any further questions. He later admitted a charge of burglary.

A defence lawyer said McMillan had experienced trauma in his childhood - including witnessing the death of his brother - which in turn led to drug and alcohol misuse.

Passing sentence Judge Patricia Smyth said she accepted the break-in was "unsophisticated" but said he showed a complete lack of respect to the occupant whose home he damaged, or their privacy.

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