Northern Ireland news

Man accused of taking part in spate of armed robberies

Sean Cahill (38) was refused bail amid claims that he was involved in three separate raids

A MAN accused of taking part in a spate of armed robberies in south Belfast has failed in a High Court bid to be released from custody.

Sean Cahill (38) was refused bail amid claims that he was involved in three separate raids on neighbouring shops on the Lisburn Road, stealing thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes, alcohol and cash.

Cahill, of Springhill Gardens in the city, is charged with three counts each of robbery and possessing an offensive weapon with intent.

He was arrested along with 41-year-old co-defendant Lawrence King, from Ross Road in west Belfast, close to a hold-up at a Co-op store on November 8.

Prosecutors alleged that Cahill had been carrying a knife while King was armed with a hammer.

The pair also allegedly targeted a nearby Wineflair off-licence on November 4 and again two days later.

A previous court heard that £1,600 worth of cigarettes, £200 of alcohol and £140 in cash was stolen in the first two robberies.

During the third incident a further £1,600 of tobacco and £450 in cash had been bagged up but had discarded when police arrived on the scene.

The series of robberies were described as an "organised operation" which left staff severely traumatised.

A Crown lawyer also claimed today that the keys to the same type of car used as a getaway vehicle on each occasion were found on Cahill.

Defence barrister Joe Brolly argued there is no evidence to connect his client to either of the first two robberies.

With King having already secured bail, Mr Brolly claimed Cahill should also be released to ensure parity.

But denying his application, Mr Justice O'Hara said: "I accept the Crown proposition that there is a risk of further offending."

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