Northern Ireland

Pensioner faces 'arms factory' charges

A pensioner accused of having a "small firearms factory" at his west Belfast home, has pleaded guilty to having firearm and explosive components in suspicious circumstances.

Thomas Maguire denied possessing the arms cache with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.

Maguire was arrested following searches at his Suffolk Drive home.

He also denied possessing articles useful to terrorists, and possessing other weapons a year earlier.

Concealed

A previous court appearence heard that guns and explosives were also allegedly found in the 68-year-old's car when he was chased and stopped by police.

Belfast's magistrates court had heard that police investigating suspected dissident republican activity seized four handguns, a coffee jar grenade and component parts for three others.

Up to 100 rounds of ammunition were also allegedly found concealed in the boot of Maguire's vehicle.

In all, Maguire, whose home was searched after his fingerprint was allegedly found on a gun seized in Newry, faced a total of seven terrorist type charges, of which he pleaded guilty to one each of possessing guns and explosives under suspicious circumstances.

The pensioner, who faces a non-jury Diplock trial, was remanded back into custody.