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Two men seen walking about with a replica Kalashnikov rifle appear before court

One of the two threw the replica rifle at a police vehicle damaging the wing mirror and the door

Craigavon Court

Two Craigavon men who were spotted walking about the local area with a replica Kalashnikov rifle have both been sentenced.

Dylan Mawhinney, 20, of Clanrolla Park, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in a public place and three counts of criminal damage at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, via videolink from Hydebank.

Meanwhile, his co-accused Martin Doran, 24, of Aldervale, entered pleas to possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances, breach of bail and possession of a firearm in a public place.

Prosecution outlined that on June 1, police were attending an unrelated matter on Edward Street, Lurgan, when they were approached by a member of the public.

They reported that they had witnessed two men walking on the Portadown Road with a rifle. Officers did a sweep of the area but to no avail.

At 10.13am, the was a further report of two males on the Tullygally Road, Craigavon, with a rifle.

An armed response unit was dispatched. They stopped the individuals and observed one of them, later identified as Mawhinney, attempting to conceal something.

This defendant then threw the rifle, which was found to be a replica, at a police vehicle damaging the wing mirror and the door.

Both males were arrested and taken to Dungannon Custody Suite, Mawhinney spat in the police vehicle whilst en route.

When interviewed, Doran said that he had bumped into his co-accused in the morning, he had been shown the rifle by him and admitted that he may have held it for a second.

The case of Mawhinney was dealt with first.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “It is accepted his offending is escalating. This was a replica Kalashnikov, it had no magazine but would have been a frightening experience for the public.

“He was intoxicated, he indulged in alcohol after he was given a chance by the court. He had been handed a combination order just three days before this offence.”

He added: “This is a man who has difficulties with alcohol and harder drugs, I ask that he is given credit for his early guilty plea.”

Prosecution informed the court that the damage caused by Mawhinney  was £1,173.15.

District Judge Steven Keown stated: “He is entitled to credit for his guilty plea at an early stage but this was a high value which there is no chance of him paying back and this was a serious offence.”

Mawhinney was sentenced to five months in prison for the offences before the court.

Defence barrister John McCann, who represented Doran, said: “Mr Doran knows he should have walked away but instead walked a short distance with his co-accused.

“He accepts there is an element of joint enterprise, he does have a record but nothing of this nature and is a man who is trying to turn his life around.”

District Judge Keown stated he was going to give Doran “the chance to break the cycle” as he sentenced him to 18 months probation.

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