A grandfather appeared in court on Saturday accused of having links to a organised crime gang in Carrickfergus and of possessing ammunition, speed and cannabis following an operation by anti-terror cops.
Paul Patterson (54) was scooped by the PSNI paramilitary crime taskforce during a raid at his mother’s address in Sunnylands Drive, Carrickfergus, on Friday.
Laganside Magistrates’ Court was told that after a search of the property cops discovered a box of .22 bullets wrapped in a marigold glove inside a cubbyhole as well as cannabis and amphetamines.
Patterson was bailed until next month while prosecutors conduct forensic tests on the ammunition.
A PSNI officer told the court an investigation into organised crime in the Carrickfergus area had allegedly identified Patterson as someone with links to a “serious” crime gang involved in offences “up to and including murder”.
He said the ammunition box was originally a box of 50 but had eleven bullets missing, adding the PSNI did not know “if they had been fired using a weapon of that calibre or been given to someone else.”
The officer told the court they were not investigating Patterson as part of the gang but “we would say he’s linked to that gang, it’s not unusual for these gangs to use people on the periphery for drug dealing purposes.”
During interview Patterson, who did not enter any pleas on Saturday, told cops he “categorically” believed forensics would not link him to the ammunition, the court was told.
A defence solicitor said Patterson had been using the cannabis and speed as a coping mechanism following the recent death of his elderly mother for whom he had been a carer.
Applying for bail he said Patterson had been caring for his mother during her last days as well as looking after his grandchildren.
During the court appearance members of Patterson’s family looked on from the public gallery.
With his wife Jennifer acting as surety he was granted bail by district judge Oonagh Mullan who told him: “Possession of ammunition is a very concerning allegation but this matter is at a very early stage and forensics will take a long time.
Patterson, of Drumhoy Drive, Carrickfergus, was released on his own bail of £750 and his wife Jennifer’s surety of £750.
He was also ordered not to be in the possession of any drugs, other than prescribed by a doctor, and told to report to Carrick Police Station twice a week.
He is due to reappear at Laganside Courthouse on October 21.