Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

British soldier to be sentenced for explosives sale plot

A former soldier will be sentenced today for his part in a plot to possess explosives from a British Army barracks to sell on to associates connected to the criminal underworld. 

Unemployed Andrew Quinn, 26, pleaded guilty in June to two charges of conspiracy to possess explosives and conspiracy to dishonestly undertake or assist in the retention, removal, disposal or realisation of stolen goods.

The explosives included detonators, flares, smoke grenades, distraction grenades and other munitions belonging to the British Army.

Quinn, from Glasgow, was previously a member of the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) stationed at Howe Barracks in Canterbury, Kent.

However, he was kicked out of the Army after failing a drugs test.

Serving soldiers Garry Graham, a 37-year-old Colour Sergeant, and Martyn Fitzsimmons, a 28-year-old Lance Corporal, both of 5 Scots were each sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday.

The two men were found guilty on Friday of the same two charges following a three-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

Their co-conspirator Sergeant Kieran Campbell, 27, of 5 Scots, was also jailed for four years on Monday after previously pleading guilty to both charges and coming forward to give evidence for the Crown during the trial.

The court heard how cross-border police investigators were led to Howe Barracks, following the discovery of concealed military explosives during a drugs raid at Quinn's Glasgow home.

Alongside 4.4lbs (2kgs) of heroin, officers searching his flat in Whitehill Place on December 31 last year, found a black suitcase stashed in a hallway cupboard containing three parachute flares, nine smoke grenades, 554 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 978 rounds of 9mm ammunition and 742 12-bore shotgun cartridges.

A forensic examination of the premises and Quinn's car revealed further traces of the compound RDX, an active component of military plastic explosives.

Quinn is due to be sentenced by Mr Justice Akenhead at 9.30am at Maidstone Crown Court.

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