Man ‘wore INLA uncle’s bullet belt as he played Call of Duty’

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A Belfast man kept his dead paramilitary uncle’s bullet belt to drape over his shoulders as he played a video war game, the High Court heard today.

Gerard Thompson got a kick out of donning the ammunition and smoking cannabis during his Call of Duty gaming sessions, his lawyer claimed.

Details emerged as the 24-year-old was granted bail on charges connected to seizures at his Elgin Street flat.

Thompson faces counts of possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply, having ammunition in suspicious circumstances and without a certificate, and encouraging or assisting in an offence, namely drugs supply.

Police searched his home after stopping him in a car and finding three small bags of cannabis on July 19, the court heard.

Officers recovered more than 100 grams of the drug at the address.

Prosecutor Conor Maguire said 85 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 106 rounds of .22 ammunition and 25 shotgun cartridges were also located in Thompson’s bedroom.

During interviews the accused claimed to have found the bullets while clearing out his uncle’s shed after he passed away in March this year.

“He said he decided to take the ammunition back home out of curiosity as the items interested him,” Mr Maguire added.

Defence counsel Joe Brolly described his client’s late uncle as a “well-known INLA figure” who received a full military funeral.

Mr Brolly argued that Thompson kept the consignment of ammunition - including a bullet belt - for amusement after discovering it in a plastic bag.

“He told police that when he was smoking cannabis and playing Call of Duty on the PlayStation 3 he would drape the gun belt around his shoulders and enjoy the feel of it,” the barrister said.

He just got a kick from having it.”

Mr Justice Maguire was told Thompson is not suspected of being linked to any criminal gangs.

The drugs recovered from his flat were mainly for personal use, with some also being sold to a small group of friends, the court heard.

Granting bail, the judge said: “If there was evidence that the applicant was dealing in a much larger way in the supply of cannabis the court almost certainly would refuse (the application).”

He ordered Thompson to live at his mother’s address and report to police twice a week.