Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Father and son jailed for burglary spree

A father and son from Newry have been jailed for five years and four years respectively for a series of crimes against elderly and vulnerable people across counties Armagh, Down and Tyrone.

John Hanrahan (46) of Nursery Drive and his 28-year-old son James of the same address were convicted of a string of burglary and assault charges committed during a five-month period between October 2017 and March 2018.

The pair targeted the homes of their victims and admitted assaulting people who confronted them.  

Police have revealed that since their detention, crimes against vulnerable people across the three counties have dropped by 30 per cent.

John Hanrahan pleaded guilty to crimes in Crossgar, Moy, Middletown and Portadown while his son pleaded guilty to involvement in the incidents in Moy and Middletown, as well as entering a house in Hilltown and assaulting two people.

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

Newry, Mourne and Down Chief Inspector Joe McMinn said, “This pair of individuals were among the biggest players within this type of crime. There has been a 30% drop in this type of crime against vulnerable members of our community [since their arrest].”

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”.

On 26th February 2018, 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 7th March, the son burgled a house in Portadown and later that day, his father became involved in an altercation with a member of the public who had seen them burgle a house in Hilltown.  He fled the scene but a short time later was arrested near Forkhill after police used a stinger-type device to stop the black Audi car he was driving.

The men had been due to go on trial this month, with nearly 50 witnesses set to give evidence, but on 24th May both men pleaded guilty to a number of charges.

They will spend half their sentences in prison and other half on licence.  Both already served 15 months on remand.