Pair jailed over rifle found after covert police operation

The rifle found in the car in August 2011.
The rifle found in the car in August 2011.

Two men from Londonderry have been jailed for a total of six years after they were caught with a rifle linked to dissident republicans following a covert police surveillance operation.

Mark Anthony Patrick Kerr, 26, of Carrabane Walk, and Michael Anthony Taylor, 45, of Bishop Street, pleaded guilty in January at Belfast Crown Court to possessing the Magnum rifle in Londonderry with intent to endanger life almost three years ago.

Kerr also pleaded guilty to possessing a length of commercial detonating cord in suspicious circumstances on the same date, August 2, 2011.

At yesterday’s hearing Taylor was sentenced to seven years, with three years to be spent in custody and four on licence after his release.

His co-accused Kerr was sentenced to six years, with half in custody and half on licence.

A prosecution lawyer told the court that the guilty pleas to having the rifle were accepted on the basis of “second limb possession”, in that they were holding the weapon for someone else.