Suspect found hiding in wardrobe after drugs haul

editorial image

A man found hiding in a wardrobe after police uncovered £300,000 worth of cocaine in a house search has pleaded guilty to gun and ammunition charges.

At Belfast Crown Court, defence barrister Jonpaul Shields asked that Gerard Hall be rearraigned on the two charges he previously denied.

Hall, 34, from the Lisburn Road, Belfast, pleaded guilty to possessing a Walter P1 pistol and nine rounds of 19 mm calibre cartridges in suspicious circumstances.

A prosecution barrister told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that Hall had previously pleaded guilty to possessing two black stun guns in the shape of torches and possesson of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of herbal cannabis.

The defendant had also admitted to dangerous driving in Newtownabbey on June 21, 2016.

The prosecution applied to have charges of possessing cocaine, possession of ammunition and having a firearm without a certificate “left on the court’s books in the usual terms”.

Hall was remanded back into custody ahead of sentencing next month.

No details were given in court today of the background to the charges.

But during an unsuccessful High Court bail application in January, a judge was told Hall was hunted for four months over a £300,000 cocaine seizure in Newtownabbey.

until he was eventually found hiding in a wardrobe at an address on the Springfield Road in west Belfast.

Hall allegedly drove off at speed, forcing police to jump out of the way of his car, after officers arrived at his rented flat in June last year.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said searches of the property recovered stashes of cocaine with up to 87% purity, herbal cannabis, sets of scales and suspected dealing bags.

A fingerprint on a bag containing some of the drugs allegedly connected the defendant.

During a second search the following day police recovered a 9mm pistol, two stun guns and 10 rounds of ammunition.

Hall was eventually found hiding in a wardrobe at an address on the Springfield Road in west Belfast in October last year.