Five men face theft charges

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Five men have been charged with theft from Derryvolgie House in Lisburn, an empty building owned by NI Water.

The men, Gerard Crawford, 26, from Alliance Court in Belfast, Francis Joseph Doherty, 21, from Stanhope Street in Belfast, John Geoghan, 22, from Tyrone Street in Belfast, Henry McIlvenny, 46, from Ballymoney Street in Belfast and James Joseph Paul Thompson, 35, from Tyrone Street in Belfast, appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court this week charged with burglary and theft.

The five men have been charged with entering Derryvolgie House, at Richmond Court in Lisburn, on June 10 of this year and stealing metal from inside the building.

One of the defendants, John Geoghan, was also charged with possession of a Class B drug, namely cannabis.

The court heard that an estimated £30,000 worth of damage was caused during the break-in at the NI Water premises.

At the time of the incident, it was reported that a member of NI Water staff carrying out routine checks discovered the gates of the site had been cut open.

The intruders were still on the premises and were seen stripping materials from the roof and from the inside of the main building.

Other items from the site had already been removed. The police were called to the scene and the intruders were apprehended.

Following the break-in, Noel Hamilton from NI Water said: “This isn’t the first time this particular building has been vandalised, there have been several previous incidents.

“Thanks to the quick reaction of staff, this time the intruders were apprehended by the PSNI and unable to proceed with their further attempt of theft.

“It is thought the intruders intended to remove steel, roof slates and other items of worth from the vacant premises in Lisburn.

“NI Water takes all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of our site, but we would point out that our sites should only be accessed by trained personnel.”

At the request of the defence team, the case was adjourned for two weeks until September 29, when District Judge Rosie Watters said she expected the defendants to be put on their plea.