Machine gun seized in church grounds
GARDAI are satisfied that a machine gun seized by officers from a church yard had been left there for collection by members of an organised crime gang.
Acting on intelligence, detectives from the national drugs unit, backed up by local gardai, carried out a search of grounds of Kilbride parish church, outside Ashbourne, Co Meath.
They found a Bren general purpose machine gun with a bipod, two magazines and six rounds of .303 ammunition for the weapon.
The gun dated back to World War II but was described as serviceable. It had been well oiled, wrapped in plastic and was hidden in growth behind the outer wall of the property.
Detectives said last night they believed the gun was to have been picked up by members of a city gang.
An Army bomb disposal team was called to the scene to examine the weapon before it was handed over to the gardai for tests.
Gangs heavily involved in drug trafficking and armed robberies have been attempting to build up their arsenals in the past couple of years and garda seizures this year have included rocket launchers that had been imported into the country with large drug shipments.
There were no arrests following the latest seizure but gardai said last night their inquiries were continuing.