herald

Sunday 18 August 2019

60 guns 'found in car of ticket conman' may have been on way here

Sixty guns were concealed in the car driven by
Robert Keogh. Photo: NCA/PA Wire
Sixty guns were concealed in the car driven by Robert Keogh. Photo: NCA/PA Wire

A Dublin man who entered the UK from France with 60 guns hidden inside a car was last year convicted of conning Irish football and music fans out of cash, the Herald can reveal.

Robert Keogh (37) was arrested in Dover on Friday with what is believed to be the largest cache of lethal weapons seized at a UK port.

He is due to appear before Margate Magistrates' Court this morning charged with illegally importing firearms.

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) found the guns when Keogh's Volkswagen Passat was stopped after it arrived aboard a ferry in Dover.

The ferry had come from Calais and the car had Irish registration plates.

Investigators are trying to establish whether the guns were destined for Ireland.

Ammunition

"An initial search recovered a Sig Sauer P226 blank-firing handgun converted to fire live ammunition in the car's rear-left quarter panel," said the NCA.

Subsequent searches found another 59 guns concealed inside the car's bumper and rear quarter panels.

Andy Wilson, who heads the NCA's investigation teams in the south of England, described the discovery as a "major achievement".

"Our investigation into the seizure is ongoing, but there's little doubt that these weapons would have gone on the criminal market and into the hands of seriously dangerous individuals."

Guns hidden in a rear quarter panel of the car. Photo: NCA/PA Wire
Guns hidden in a rear quarter panel of the car. Photo: NCA/PA Wire

In June last year, Keogh, from Hazelbury Green, Clonee, was sentenced to six months in prison for taking hundreds of euro from football and music fans for non-existent tickets.

The court heard the deceptions were to fund his severe gambling habit.

Keogh worked as a business analyst and was a talented GAA player.

However, he developed a gambling addiction while recovering from an injury he suffered, Swords District Court was told.

His gambling spiralled into a "terrible addiction", causing him to lose his house, his fiancee and his job, his defence barrister Annette Kealy told the court.

He then became involved in selling non-existent tickets to pay his gambling debts and to get more money to gamble.

Robert Keogh
Robert Keogh

Keogh had reimbursed all the victims of his scams, the court was told.

However, he was ordered by Judge Dermot Dempsey to come up with additional compensation for one of his victims, who had travelled to Liverpool for a soccer game, but never received the tickets Keogh had promised her.

Keogh was sentenced to a year in prison at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the previous April for similar offences, just days after he entered a guilty plea for his last offences.

He had been unable to come up with the extra compensation, the court heard.

Keogh pleaded guilty to dishonestly inducing a woman to hand over €270 at AIB Bank on Dame Street on December 8, 2015, for two tickets to a Liverpool v Manchester United football match.

He further pleaded guilty to the theft of €170 from a man for a Parnell GAA pass on December 10, 2015, at Tobersool Lane, Balbriggan.

He also pleaded guilty to the theft of €180 from the same victim at the Huntsman Pub, Gormanston, on December 12, 2015.

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