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Former policeman tried to buy gun on 'dark web'

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A former PSNI officer has pleaded guilty to trying to buy a gun, ammunition and silencer on the 'dark web'.

31-year-old Allen Kennedy, whose address was given as c/o of Strandtown police station in east Belfast, had been due to go on trial this week on a total of 14 gun ammunition and drug charges.

Dressed in a grey two-piece suit,Kennedy confirmed his age and address to the court clerk before he was formally re-arraigned at Downpatrick Crown Court.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to possessing a 9mm pistol, 10 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and a silencer on September 5, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Judge Grant ordered the preparation of a probation report ahead of a plea and sentencing hearing next month.

No application for bail was made and the judge remanded Kennedy back into custody to Maghaberry prison.

No details were given in court today about the circumstances surrounding the gun and drug offences. But a previous court hearing was told the charges related to Kennedy's involvement in trying to buy the firearm and ammunition over the internet's 'dark web'.

Following his arrest in September last year, Kennedy resigned from the PSNI having previously been suspended on an unrelated matter. The court was told the then serving constable was detained during an undercover sting operation said to have resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins.

The court heard Kennedy was arrested at Annadale Embankment in south Belfast on September 5, 2016.

Searches of his vehicle were said to have uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.

Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which stretched to the north Down area. In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the 'dark web', the court heard.

According to the defence Kennedy has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It was claimed that he was trying to purchase the weapon to take his own life. A claim rejected by police.