herald

Monday 20 August 2018

AK-47 found near school was used in gang war

A REPLICA AK-47 assault rifle found in Bray was part of an arsenal of weapons being used by a gang to threaten rivals.

The discovery was made in undergrowth during a planned search of ground beside St Gerard's school on Thornhill Road in the Co Wicklow town during a search for a different weapon.

Gardai investigating the shooting of Glen McGrath outside the Cappagh Nua pub in Finglas on January 30, as well as a series of shootings in the Bray area in the past month, had been looking for a shotgun in the waste ground beside the school.



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But as well as finding the components of the shotgun, they also discovered the AK-47 lying beside the wall of the exclusive school.

The weapon, which was a replica, is still undergoing analysis in the garda ballistics division for fingerprints and other forensic evidence, but senior gardai believe it was part of a cache of more weapons.

"Two other similar guns have been found in the Bray area in recent times, and while we cannot say they were used for a specific crime, it is more likely they were used by one criminal gang to intimidate or threaten another," said a source close to the investigation.

At the time of the find, on February 2, gardai were surprised to locate the gun because it appeared to have been there for some time with no real effort to conceal it.

Although it had been overgrown to some degree by briars and ivy, it was not buried or protected from the elements.

Gardai believe the gun was placed there to be picked up shortly afterwards, but for some unknown reason it was left there, possibly for months.

Specially trained gardai using slash-hooks and metal detectors made the discovery and immediately called scene-of- crime officers to have the gun examined before removing it to ensure it was safe.

Gardai said they were relieved to have such a weapon taken off the streets.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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