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Explosives find accused admits firearms charge

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 47-year-old west Belfast man due to stand trial for offences arising from the discovery of Semtex has admitted a firearms charge.

Kevin Nolan, from Stewartstown Road, was arrested in Sunderland after explosives, guns and bullets were seized during the search of a house in Ballymurphy last September.

Nolan appeared in court earlier this year, where he was charged with - and denied - seven offences linked to the incident. During this appearance at Belfast Crown Court he replied "not guilty" when each of the seven charges were put to him.

The charges included possessing 651g of the commercial explosive Semtex and two improvised electric detonators, both with intent to endanger life, and also in suspicious circumstances.

Nolan was back before the same court yesterday, where his barrister Eilis MacDermott QC asked that he re-arraigned on one of the charges he faced.

An offence of possessing firearms and ammunition on dates between May 1 and September 18, 2015 in suspicious circumstances was put to Nolan, and when he was asked by the clerk of the court how he pleaded to that charge, Nolan replied "guilty".

The court heard the items in question included two handguns - namely a Baikai gas pistol and a revolver - as well as a variety of bullets.

Nolan continues to deny six other offences levelled against him and is due to stand trial on January 23, 2017.

He was released on continuing bail by Judge Patricia Smyth, ahead of next month's trial.

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