Belfast Telegraph

Stokes parents freed without charge

The parents and uncle of Celtic star Anthony Stokes have been released from custody without charge after they were arrested in Dublin.

The three were detained by detectives on Friday after ammunition was uncovered at the couple's pub.

Gardai confirmed earlier that Paul Byrne, 46, who is an uncle of the footballer, had been released without charge. It was later revealed that the soccer star's father and mother had also been released without charge. A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The arrests followed raids in the capital linked to an investigation into a long-running turf war between the so-called Real IRA and drugs gangs.

John Stokes, 54, was last month ordered to remove a massive 40ft banner barring Britain's Queen Elizabeth from his Players Lounge in Fairview, north Dublin, during her forthcoming state visit.

It is understood he was arrested at the pub after a team of Garda officers - including the elite special detective unit - smashed their way in through a side door at around 10am on Friday.

A handful of bullets found in a shed at the back of the pub were taken away for ballistic tests. Cocaine with a street value of about 500 euro along with three stun guns were also found on the premises.

His wife - and mother of the young Hoops striker - Joan Stokes, 55, was also arrested at the time.

More than 100 officers were involved in a wave of early morning searches in north Dublin as part of an inquiry into a bloody row between dissident republicans and organised criminals.

The bitter rivals are locked in a battle for supremacy in a protection racket targeting pubs and clubs. Last July three men, including a doorman and two customers, were gunned down outside the Players Lounge. A number of private houses were also searched in the Donaghmede area.

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