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Nine years' jail for man storing guns and bullets in car

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Gardai caught the man with a key to the car containing guns. (stock photo)

Gardai caught the man with a key to the car containing guns. (stock photo)

Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardai caught the man with a key to the car containing guns. (stock photo)

A father-of-one who was holding two machine guns, three revolvers, two silencers and 107 rounds of various ammunition in the boot of a car has been jailed for nine years.

Detective Garda Ronan Doolan said Graham Gardner (35) was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying the mass card of an individual previously shot dead when gardai approached him in November 2016.

Gardner was speaking to the occupants of a Ford Focus van that had been under surveillance. Nothing was found in this vehicle, although a hidden compartment was found.

Det Gda Doolan said Gardner had a car key on him that he said was a friend's spare key.

He was taken to a garda station for questioning during which he claimed that he found the car key while out walking.

The vehicle was later discovered in an underground car park, about a two-minute drive away from where gardai had approached Gardner at the Ford Focus. The weapons were in a holdall in the boot. A third revolver was in the glove box.

Gardner, of Carnlough Road, Cabra, Dublin, pleaded guilty at the city's Circuit Criminal Court to possessing the firearms and ammunition at Quarry Road, Cabra, on November 5, 2016.

Gda Doolan said each revolver was loaded and, although the machine guns had no ammunition in them, they were accompanied by fully loaded magazines.

Gda Doolan told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that Gardner's DNA was found on the revolvers and one of the machines guns.

Both this vehicle and the Ford Focus had previously been bought on the DoneDeal website and subsequently registered under false names.

Protection

Gardner was arrested the following December. He still maintained that he found the key while out walking.

He claimed that he had met the other people in the Ford Focus by chance that day and said he was wearing the bulletproof vest for his protection.

He said he did not know how his DNA got on the firearms.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was a very serious case as he was holding guns for third parties: "He must have known the purpose of these guns were to cause serious harm or death."