A MAN has avoided a jail sentence after he was caught handling 20 high-powered rifles stolen from a firearms dealer.
Some of the rifles were later sold to the notorious McCarthy-Dundon criminal gang in Limerick.
Paul Moloney (38) of Glassderrymore, Brosna, Birr, Co Offaly, got a five-year suspended sentence at Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court.
Forty-two rifles, shotguns and handguns were stolen from firearms dealer and gunsmith, Tonnie Keevan at Cregg House near Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, on January 9, 2009.
Garda intelligence indicates the guns, which included a number of high-powered rifles used in deer hunting, have since been sold to the McCarthy-Dundon gang, which is based in Limerick.
Moloney was arrested in October 2009 and questioned at Clonmel garda station for three days.
He was subsequently charged with handling stolen property at Beechwood, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, on January 27, 2009.
Judge Codd heard evidence from Det Insp William Leahy, who is based in Tipperary, at the court hearing on Tuesday.
Gardai established that the stolen guns were initially moved to a location in Golden, Co Tipperary.
Thirty-three guns were then transferred to Navan, Co Meath, before the majority of the haul was transported to an empty house in Nenagh where they were handled by Moloney, who is originally from Roscrea, Co Tipperary.
Half of the guns were never recovered while the rest were found in a number of separate garda operations.