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Five remanded over terrorism plot

Helicopter footage forms part of the case against four men and a 16-year-old boy accused over an alleged terrorist plot to injure a man in Belfast, a court has heard.

But police could not confirm whether surveillance or undercover officers were used in an operation mounted in west Belfast.

The five suspects were arrested and two guns recovered following an alleged incident on St James Road last Thursday.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the youngest suspect, who cannot be identified, was a vulnerable person and “an ideal courier” of the weapons due to his age.

He is accused of possessing a 9mm handgun, revolver and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, and having a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Charges have also been brought against Belfast men Robert O'Neill (33), of Andersonstown Park East; Anthony Rooney (47), from Broom Close, Dunmurry; Stephen McAllister (40), of Moyard Crescent, and 34-year-old Sean O'Reilly.

A ban was imposed on disclosing O'Reilly's address after the court was told a threat had been issued against him.

All four men are accused of conspiracy to wound with intent, attempting to wound with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, having a firearm with criminal intent, and possessing articles for use in terrorism.

The court was told these allegedly include an extendable baton, gloves, woollen hat and a scarf. Rooney and O'Neill are further charged with possession of a Taser stun-gun.

Defence solicitor John Finucane did not seek bail. The lawyer told the court: “Helicopter footage evidence seems to be very crucial in this case. That has been put to my clients at interview and I would expect that footage to be ready and available.”

His clients were remanded in custody along with McAllister and O'Neill, who also did not apply for bail, to appear again next month.

The 16-year-old's bid to be released was opposed due to the fear of further offending and for the youth's own protection.

Remanding the youth in custody until Friday, District Judge Fiona Bagnall adjourned his application to allow more time to resolve issues around a possible address.

Belfast Telegraph