Ciaran Barker and Caoimhin Corr allegedly ploughed through rush hour traffic, colliding with several vehicles before the van’s tyres were blown out by a stinger device
A court was told it happened after Ciaran Barker and Caoimhin Corr were dumped out of their mate’s car in Ards.
It is also claimed that on the night of Friday, August 6, they tried to steal a motorbike before hijacking a Tesco delivery van.
Once the driver was forced from the van, it’s alleged Barker (39) ploughed his way through busy rush hour traffic, colliding with several vehicles and narrowly missing a child’s buggy as they made their way westwards.
A police officer told the court several vehicles “had to take evasive action to avoid a collision” but that a handful of drivers in Dundonald were struck by the stolen van.
It’s alleged 23-year-old Caoimhin Corr took over the driving when the van reached the Sydenham by-pass.
Both men were arrested after cops laid out a stinger device which blew out the van’s tyres.
Barker, from Beechmount Grove, and Corr, from Beechmount Close, in west Belfast, face a number of charges including hijacking, dangerous driving and assaulting police.
Downpatrick Magistrates Court was told the catalogue of offences started at an off-licence in Millisle when Barker and Corr allegedly stole £80 of booze before fleeing in a car driven by a third male.
The offending then moved to Ards where it’s alleged the pair tried to steal a motorbike before setting their sights on the Tesco van.
The driver was sitting with his arm out the window when it’s alleged Barker grabbed him and ordered him to hand over the keys.
The court was told the driver looked up to find Corr climbing into the cab.
Fearing what might happen he got out, Barker got in and the van sped off through the busy town centre.
Corr’s defence lawyer claimed that he and Barker had been kicked out of their friend’s car when he realised the booze they got had been stolen.
Having found himself “stranded” in a strange town, Corr “didn’t want to be left behind” when Barker hijacked the Tesco van.
Barker’s defence solicitor claimed that he suffers from “significant mental health difficulties” which have recently been exacerbated after being forced to move house because of a threat from the UDA.
Describing the offences as “an extraordinary set of allegations’’, the judge refused bail for both with the case adjourned until the end of this month.