Northern Ireland

Men bailed over antique World War I rifle find

Two men have been bailed over charges related to the possession of an antique rifle used in World War I.

Gerard Flannigan, 32, and Brian Holmes, 24, were arrested during an investigation into suspected dissident republican activity on Barnfield Road, Lisburn, County Antrim, on 4 April.

The rifle was found wrapped in bin liners in nearby snow-covered bushes during daylight searches the next morning.

Both were bailed at Belfast High Court.

According to police evidence the pair were seen getting out of a Hyundai vehicle close to where the gun was subsequently discovered.

A prosecution barrister said Mr Flannigan appeared to be crawling on his hands and knees around a grass verge.

Police said following his arrest Mr Flannigan claimed to be at the scene to go to the toilet.

The court was told bin liners recovered from the boot of the car are being examined along with those used to wrap the rifle.

Defence counsel told the court the rifle was an antique 1917 Enfield used in World War One.

"It had no magazine and no bullets. You might find them in a museum or with an antique dealer, but you cannot buy them," he said.