Former soldier denies explosives charges

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A former soldier appeared in court on Thursday on charges linked to the alleged seizure of improvised explosive devices and guns at his Co Antrim home.

John Rankin, from Edward Road in Whitehead, was charged with a total of five offences arising from a police search at his home last January.

The ex-soldier, who served in the Falklands War, admitted one charge but denied the remaining four counts levelled against him.

The 52-year-old admitted possessing three blank firing automatic pistols without the authority of the Secretary of State on January 23, 2014.

He entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances on the same date, namely a nail bomb-type device and six blast bomb-type devices, as well as a quantity of firework composition.

Rankin denied making explosives under suspicious circumstances on dates between January 12 and 24, 2014 and pleaded ‘not guilty’ to attempting to possess three blank firing pistols on dates between October 1 and 30, 2013.

A trial date was set for March 18.