Man ‘stored submachine gun and ammunition in bin at house’

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An electrician allegedly stored a submachine gun and ammunition in a bin at his home on the outskirts of Belfast, a court has heard.

The firearm discovered in Damian Black’s garage at Lagmore Glen in Dunmurry last Friday is capable of firing multiple rounds indiscriminately, a judge was told.

A detective claimed: “The activity for such a weapon could only lead to death and serious injury.”

Black, 47, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with possessing a Scorpion submachine gun and five rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

He faces a further count of having a firearm designed or adapted so that two or more missiles can be discharged without repeat pressure on the trigger.

Bail was refused amid police concerns about potentially obstructing the course of justice.

Black was arrested during an intelligence-led search carried out at his home.

The gun was located in a bin his wife and two children could have easily accessed through an internal door, the detective said.

District Judge Harry McKibbin was told that during interviews Black made no comment and declined to say if he was acting under duress.

It was accepted that the accused has no previous criminal history.

But the detective added: “This is an ongoing police investigation into organised criminal activity.”

Defence solicitor Darragh Mackin insisted there was nothing to link his client to any crime groupings or paramilitary organisations.

He pointed out that Black is not charged with having any violent intentions.

No forensic evidence has been identified yet on the weapon, the solicitor added.

Seeking bail, Mr Mackin argued that Black’s home could be repossessed if he is not released.

“He was arrested on Friday and his whole world has been turned upside down,” he added.

“His two sons may lose their home if he’s not allowed to go back to work.”

Despite the offer of deeds to two properties and £1,700 in cash as sureties from family members gathered in court, Mr McKibbin remanded the accused in custody.

“I’m not taking any chances. The matter is very serious indeed,” he said.

Black will appear again in court by video-link on May 26.