Northern Ireland news

Man found with stolen van keys in his sock, court hears

Seamus Deeny, of Victoria Street, faces charges of taking a motor vehicle without authority

A BELFAST man accused of stealing a council worker's van was allegedly discovered with the vehicle's keys down his sock and white powder around his nose, the High Court has heard..

Prosecutors also claimed Seamus Deeny (28) was abusive to medical staff when taken to hospital because of his condition.

Deeny, of Victoria Street, faces charges of taking a motor vehicle without authority, driving while disqualified and unfit through drink or drugs, and disorderly behaviour.

A Belfast City Council employee reported his Iveco van had been stolen on March 12.

He told police that he had left the keys in the vehicle while he assisted a resident in the Dunmurry area.

A tracking device resulted in the van being found at another location in the city the same day, the court heard.

Crown lawyer Fiona O'Kane alleged Deeny was located 10 metres away, with the vehicle's keys in his sock.

"He was unsteady on his feet, with slurred speech and white powder around his nose," she claimed.

Police were so concerned about his state that he was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"While there he was abusive to staff," Mrs O'Kane alleged.

"That caused significant distress among staff and others."

Deeny was granted bail to live at a relative's home under curfew.

Imposing a ban on alcohol, Mr Justice Larkin also ordered: "Given the issue with vehicles which looms large, he is not to enter any privately owned vehicle with the exception of a taxi."

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