Northern Ireland

Ex-policeman tried to buy gun on 'dark web'

Downpatrick court
Image caption Allen Kennedy pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court

A former PSNI officer has pleaded guilty to trying to buy a gun, ammunition and a silencer on the so-called dark web.

Allen Kennedy, 31, whose address was given as Strandtown police station, had been due to go on trial on 14 gun, ammunition and drug charges.

On Friday, he pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a 9mm pistol, 10 rounds of ammunition and a silencer.

He also admitted possessing 102 grammes of cocaine with intent to supply.

A prosecution barrister asked that a further eight charges relating to the firearm, ammunition and drug offences be "left on the books in the usual terms''.

The judge ordered the preparation of a probation report ahead of a plea and sentencing hearing next month.

No application for bail was made and the judge remanded Kennedy back into custody at Maghaberry prison.

Cocaine hidden in tins

No details were given in court on Friday about the circumstances surrounding the gun and drug offences.

But a previous court hearing was told the charges related to Kennedy's involvement in trying to buy the firearm and ammunition over the internet.

Following his arrest in September last year, Kennedy resigned from the PSNI having previously been suspended on an unrelated matter.

The court was told the then serving constable was detained during an undercover sting operation said to have resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins.

Image caption Kennedy resigned from the PSNI in September of last year

Kennedy was arrested at Annadale Embankment in south Belfast on 5 September 2016 after handing over £500 to receive a package.

A detective said the accused had used an online moniker and tag to arrange to buy a Russian pistol, silencer and ammunition.

Searches of his vehicle were said to have uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.

Mobile phones containing text messages associated with someone allegedly involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.

Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which stretched to the north Down area.

In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the "dark web", the court heard.