A “RRELUCTANT store man” who was caught red handed with a small arsenal of weaponry has been jailed for more than three years.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 49-year-old Thomas John Edwards he accepted he had been under a degree of pressure from others to become a “reluctant store man” for the items. He sentenced him to six and a half years with half spent on licence. Just before his trial was due to start last July EEdwards, from Tullygalley in Craigavon, pleaded guilty to having guns, ammunition and explosives with intent to enable others to endanger life on 10 August 2011. Edwards also admitted possessing a balaclava for terrorist purposes and providing his home, for terrorism. Prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy told Belfast Crown Court that in an intelligence led operation, police searched Edwards home and uncovered the items at locations in the house.
An AK47 assault rifle along with numerous bullets were found. The grip stock and trigger mechanism for a recoil less improvised grenade launcher was uncovered in a bag in the kitchen cupboard while 5.1 grammes of black arms propellant was hidden inside s pepper pot. Mr Murphy said that wrapped in a yellow in a yellow duster in the same cupboard was an automatic Beretta pistol with a loaded magazine. He added that in total, police found 46 bullets and told the court how small arms propellant was commonly used in pipe bombs while a grenade launcher was first used in an attack in Belfast in May 1991 but “has been encountered on a number of other occasions”. Following the sentencing, PSNI Detective Superintendent Glenn Wright of Serious Crime Branch said: “Mr Edwards is in jail, the weapons are off the streets. This is yet aanother example of the PSNI’s determination to protect the community and bring terrorists to justice.”
With many thanks to : The Irish News.
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