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Gun theft probe led to discovery of £240k drug haul, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 29/08/2015

The consignment was seized on Tuesday after police discovered text messages on the mobile phone of a man who had reported his legally held firearm missing, a judge was told
The consignment was seized on Tuesday after police discovered text messages on the mobile phone of a man who had reported his legally held firearm missing, a judge was told

An investigation into a suspected gun theft led to £240,000 worth of amphetamines being found in a Co Antrim garden shed, a court has heard.

The consignment was seized on Tuesday after police discovered text messages on the mobile phone of a man who had reported his legally held firearm missing, a judge was told.

Details emerged as Craig Adair appeared yesterday before Belfast Magistrates Court accused of a series of drugs offences following the raid on his home at Doagh Road, Newtownabbey.

The 25-year-old faces charges of possessing amphetamines with intent to supply, having herbal cannabis, and offering to supply speed, tramadol and OxyContin.

Adair is also accused of failing to comply with firearms certificate conditions and motoring offences.

Refusing bail, a judge said information recovered from the defendant's phone pointed to his alleged involvement in drug dealing.

Two women, aged 46 and 27, were also arrested as part of the operation surrounding the seizure.

A detective revealed police mounted an intelligence-led investigation after speaking to Adair about a personal protection weapon he claimed had been stolen.

He said the defendant handed over his mobile to corroborate his version of events.

Checks on the phone uncovered a large amount of text messages allegedly offering drugs for sale, the court heard.

According to the detective, morphine-based class A substances, cannabis and either cocaine or speed were all being offered.

He said the amphetamines, valued at £240,000 were then discovered in a shed behind Adair's house.

The accused denies any knowledge of the consignment.

Under cross-examination the detective confirmed that the shed had been unlocked when searched.

Defence solicitor John Greer argued that police did not know when, or by whom, the drugs were stored there.

He told the court no forensic evidence or covert surveillance links Adair to the amphetamines.

"This is a weak case against my client in respect of (that charge)," he said.

Bail was denied, however, due to the risk of any further offending.

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy added: "The supply and possession of drugs is a scourge in Northern Ireland. "

Adair was remanded into custody to appear again by video-link on September 25.

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