Two Londonderry men accused of having rifle

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Tony Taylor
Image caption,
Tony Taylor is a leading member of Republican Network for Unity.

Two men have appeared in court in Londonderry charged with having a firearm with intent to endanger life.

One of them is former prisoner Tony Taylor, who is a leading member of the pressure group Republican Network for Unity.

They were arrested in the city earlier this week as part of a police operation targeting suspected dissident republican activity.

Two others - a man and a teenage boy - were released without charge.

The two accused were brought into court amid heavy security. Supporters cheered as they were led inside.

Mark Kerr, 24, from Carrabane Walk and 44-year-old Tony Taylor from Bishop Street, are accused of possessing a .22 Remington rifle with intent to endanger life.

Mr Kerr's car was rammed by police on Tuesday night and they said they found a rifle inside a holdall in the boot. Detonator cord was later found.

Mr Kerr told detectives he was not a member of any organisation and was just told to drive while under duress.

Mr Taylor was arrested a short distance away and had wrapping from the holdall in his possession.

He told police he had earlier had a dispute with a man who had thrown the plastic wrapping at him and he picked it up to look at it.

Three suspected coffee jar bombs were also found in the vicinity.

Both men were remanded in custody.