Three held in Belfast crime swoop appear in court


Three of the 12 men arrested in yesterday’s anti-crime swoops in Belfast appeared in court today on charges of armed robbery.

In the dock at the Magistrates court this morning were Mr Harry Porter, a 30-year-old window cleaner, from St George’s Gardens, and Mr Darren Clarke (20), from Henderson Avenue, both in Belfast.

Mr Porter was charged with using a shotgun and handgun in robbery of £280 at the King's Head pub at Balmoral, South Belfast, in September, 2000.

Mr Clarke was charged with robbery of £140 and cigarettes from a shop on the Lisburn Road last April and using a wheelbrace to commit the offence.

Both were remanded in custody for a month and their solicitors said bail applications would be made in the High Court.

A third man appeared at a sitting this afternoon.

Mr Patrick Cunningham (22), of Cherry Park was charged with robbing Securicor employees of a total of £50,000 in three armed hold-ups at Moira, Donaghadee and Newtownabbey between August and October last year. Police say they expect to charge others in the coming days.

Yesterday, police raided several addresses following a spate of armed robberies and burglaries in the south of the city.

About 100 police officers were involved in the operation on more than 20 premises in the towns of Lisburn and Bangor on the outskirts of Belfast.

Those detained were being questioned about robberies, burglaries and carthefts in the area. Police also seized a quantity of cannabis during the operation.