Sunday 18 August 2019

Pictured: Irishman arrested over 60 pistols hidden inside car in UK's biggest seizure of guns

Robert Keogh was arrested over the discovery of 60 guns at Dover Port.
Robert Keogh was arrested over the discovery of 60 guns at Dover Port.
Potential for harm: The UK’s National Crime Agency found 60 guns hidden in a car used by Clonee man Robert Keogh
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Dublin man found entering the UK from France with 60 guns hidden inside a car was convicted of conning football and music fans out of cash here last year.

Robert Keogh (37) was arrested in Dover on Saturday with what is believed to be the largest seizure of lethal-­purpose weapons at a port in the UK.

He is due to appear before Margate Magistrates Court this morning charged with illegally importing firearms.

An investigation by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered the cache of firearms when a Volkswagen Passat was stopped arriving at the Port of Dover.

Clonee man Robert Keogh
Clonee man Robert Keogh

The car had arrived from Calais in France and had Irish registration plates.

Investigators are trying to establish whether the guns were destined for Ireland.

"An initial search recovered a Sig Sauer P226 blank-firing handgun, with a barrel converted to fire live ammunition in the car's rear-left quarter panel," the NCA said.

Subsequent searches found a further 59 firearms concealed inside the car's bumper and both rear quarter panels.

Andrea Wilson, head of the NCA's southern investigations, described the discovery as a "major achievement".

"Our investigation into the seizure is ongoing but there's little doubt that these weapons would have gone on the criminal market and into the hands of seriously dangerous individuals," she said.

Potential for harm: The UK’s National Crime Agency found 60 guns hidden in a car used by Clonee man Robert Keogh
Potential for harm: The UK’s National Crime Agency found 60 guns hidden in a car used by Clonee man Robert Keogh

"These weapons pose massive potential for harm, making their criminal use a priority for the NCA and wider UK law enforcement."

In June last year Keogh, from Hazelbury Green in Clonee, was sentenced to six months in prison for taking money from football and music fans for non-existent tickets.

The court heard the deceptions were to fund his severe gambling habit.

Keogh worked as a business analyst and was a talented GAA player, but developed a gambling addiction while recovering from an injury he suffered, Swords District Court heard. His gambling spiralled into a "terrible addiction" causing him to lose his house, his fiancée and his job, and he became involved in selling non-existent tickets to pay his gambling debts and to get more money to gamble, his defence barrister Annette Kealy told the court.

Keogh had paid the victims of his scams their money back - totalling €620.

But he was ordered by Judge Dermot Dempsey to come up with additional compensation for one of his victims, who had travelled to Liverpool for a soccer game but never received the promised tickets for which she had paid Keogh.

Potential for harm: The UK’s National Crime Agency found 60 guns hidden in a car used by Clonee man Robert Keogh
Potential for harm: The UK’s National Crime Agency found 60 guns hidden in a car used by Clonee man Robert Keogh

Keogh was sentenced to a year in prison at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the previous April for similar offences just days after he entered a guilty plea for his last offences, and he had been unable to come up with the extra compensation, the court had heard.

Keogh pleaded guilty to dishonestly inducing a woman to hand over €270 for two tickets to a Liverpool v Manchester Utd football match on December 8, 2015 at AIB Bank on Dame Street.

He further pleaded guilty to the theft of €170 from a man for a Parnells GAA pass on December 10, 2015, at Tobersool Lane in Balbriggan.

He also pleaded guilty to the theft of €180 from the same victim at the Huntsman pub in Gormanston on December 12, 2015.

Irish Independent

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