Belfast Telegraph

Guns and coffee jar bomb in OAP's car, court hears

Guns and explosives were discovered in a 68-year-old man's car after he was chased and stopped by police, a court has heard.

Thomas Maguire was arrested on Tuesday following a search operation at his Suffolk Drive home in west Belfast.

Officers investigating suspected dissident republican activity seized four handguns, a coffee jar grenade and component parts for three others.

Around 100 rounds of ammunition were also found concealed in the boot of Maguire's vehicle, a detective said.

The accused faces charges of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life, two counts of having firearms with intent, and possessing articles for use in terrorism.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard his home was searched after his fingerprint was allegedly found on a gun seized in Newry last year.

A detective constable said: "What we uncovered in September 2010 is what we would describe as a small firearms factory."

Opposing bail due to fears that Maguire may reoffend or flee, District Judge Bagnall said he was not at home when this week's operation was launched.

When he arrived at the scene and saw police he drove off, triggering a car chase which led to his detention, the court was told.

Defence barrister Eugene McKenna, instructed by Padraig O'Muirigh solicitors, claimed Maguire should be bailed on health grounds.

The lawyer set out a number of serious medical complaints, including heart disease, liver problems and jaundice suffered by his client.

"He is a man in a parlous state of health," Mr McKenna said.

It was argued that prison doctors may not be able to provide the same constant care he receives.

But refusing bail, District Judge Bagnall said the police information pointed to a risk of reoffending.

She added: "I'm sure the Prison Service will do everything they can to ensure a similar supervision and treatment of his medical needs."

Maguire was remanded in custody to appear again by videolink next month.

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