28/06/2013

70-Year-Old Convicted Over Firearms 'Factory'

A 70-year-old man has been sentenced to six and a half years after he was convicted for firearms and explosives offences.

Thomas Maguire, of Suffolk Drive, west Belfast, was arrested in August 2011 following a high speed car chase with police.

Hidden inside the panel of the Mondeo car, officers found three revolvers, a 'coffee jar grenade', component parts for three similar grenades, 100 rounds of ammunition, a disassembled semi-automatic firearm and a suspected shotgun propellant.

Mr Maguire was sentenced to a custodial sentence of six and a half years. Three years three months will be in prison and the remainder will be on licence.

He was identified from a fingerprint found on part of a firearm which had been recovered from a workshop in Newry the previous year.

Police had uncovered a large quantity of firearms and ammunition from the 'firearms factory' at the rear of a house at Aileen Terrace in Newry in September 2010.

The operation is thought to have been manufacturing and modifying component parts for firearms since 2008 on behalf of dissident republican terrorists.

Detective Superintendent Glenn Wright, from Serious Crime Branch, said: "Police will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to bring before the courts all those involved in terrorist-linked offences, regardless of age.

"We will pursue every strand of evidence to ensure we maximise all investigative and forensic opportunities. The community which we are pledged to serve and our colleagues who we are determined to protect deserve nothing less. Our work will continue. We would ask people to work with us to keep everyone safe."

(IT/CD)

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