Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man in court accused of having two deactivated firearms

By Paul Higgins

A Killinchy man appeared in court on Friday accused of having two deactivated firearms.

Standing handcuffed to a prison guard in the dock of Newtownards Magistrates Court, 27-year-old Keith Crooks confirmed he understood the two charges against him.

Crooks, from Newline Crescent, is accused of having a deactivated .22 air rifle without holding a firearms certificate and having a deactivated AK47 assault rifle "with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence" on May 3 this year. 

No facts surrounding the charges were opened in court but it is understood they arise following an incident just after 6pm on Wednesday when police received a number of reports that a man, carrying a suspected firearm, was attempting to stop cars on the Comber Road in Killinchy.

Specially trained firearms officers responded and a man was arrested in the New Line Crescent area while a search of the area uncovered a deactivated rifle and a number of other items were recovered.

In court on Friday, a Detective Constable said she believed she could connect Crooks to the charges and defence barrister Conor Holmes revealed that "negotiations all morning, I'm happy to say, have borne fruit" in that police had agreed to bail conditions. 

Freeing Crooks on his own bail of £300 and ordering him to come back to court on June 2 District Judge Una Mullan barred him from taking alcohol or illicit drugs, ordered him to observe a curfew and to report to police twice a week.

In addition Crooks must attend with his GP "and any mental health appointment" and is prohibited from having a firearm or anything which resembles one.

District Judge Mullan warned Crooks that if he breached any of the conditions "you will be brought back and may remain in custody".

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