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UK National Crime Agency

Irishman pleads guilty to smuggling 60 guns into UK in car

Robert Keogh was stopped last month by border force officers at the Port of Dover en route from Calais.

A DUBLIN MAN has admitted smuggling 60 guns in his car into the UK.

Robert Keogh, aged 37, from Clonee, was stopped last month by border force officers at the Port of Dover en route from Calais.

He had left the UK through Dover several days earlier.

Keogh told officers he was returning from Europe and had “just been driving around”.

An initial search of his car, a Volkswagen Passat, recovered a Turkish manufactured Zoraki blank firing handgun, with its barrel converted to fire live ammunition. The gun was concealed in the car’s rear-left quarter panel.

Subsequent searches by Border Force officers unearthed a further 59 firearms concealed deep inside the car’s bumper and both rear quarter panels.

Keogh admitted illegally importing firearms when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday. He will return to court for sentencing on 11 October.

In an interview, he told National Crime Agency (NCA) officers that he had a €3,000 gambling debt. He said he didn’t know there was anything hidden in the car on the return journey.

Andrea Wilson, the NCA’s head of regional investigations, said officers have “deprived an organised crime group of a huge haul of firearms and significantly disrupted their plans”.

“These weapons would have been moved onto the criminal market and into the hands of extremely dangerous offenders,” she said.

“Although the UK’s level of gun crime is one of the lowest in the world, firearms pose massive potential for harm making their criminal use a priority for the NCA and wider UK law enforcement.”

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