Man avoids jail for possessing blank firing pistols and ammunition

A man who claims he has “a stupid, infantile interest in guns” has avoided a jail term after he was caught with three blank firing pistols and 400 rounds of ammunition in his Dublin home.

Philip Hendrick (aged 37) was arrested on the way to a party and found to be carrying €300 worth of cocaine.

A follow-up search of his house uncovered the weapons stash which also included two emergency flares. He later told gardaí he bought the guns from a “junkie” five years ago.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said many robbery victims can be left traumatised after being confronted with similar firearms to those which Hendrick had that day.

She sentenced him to three years in prison which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that he keeps the peace and be of good behaviour for three years.

Hendrick of Crannoge Close, Poppintree pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the cocaine at Mellowes Road, Finglas and possession of three handguns and a selection of live and blank ammunition at his home on February 7, 2010.

He told gardaí he bought the guns “to play around with them” and that he did not know they were illegal.

He said he was “like a kid with a toy” but later got bored of them and put them in the wardrobe where gardaí later found them.

Defence counsel Tara Burns SC said Hendrick has three children and works as a maintenance man.

She said he bought the guns because of “a stupid infantile interest” and has no involvement with criminal gangs.

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