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Fermanagh farm explosives find 'had more high grade fertilizer than Omagh bomb'

The house outside Kinawley in Co Fermanagh where police found a massive haul of explosives and ammunition

A MAJOR haul of explosive substances and paramilitary equipment found in an undercover police operation at a farm house on the Fermanagh border included more high-grade nitro-based fertilizer than was used in the Omagh bomb.

The details emerged at Antrim Crown Court as a convicted gunman caught red-handed with the haul was told he will find out next week how much longer he will have to spend in prison.

Barry Francis Petticrew, (45), originally from Belfast and whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, was arrested following an undercover police operation.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing explosive substances with intent, possession of articles useful to terrorists and possession of ammunition, also with intent.

The court heard among the haul were three timer power units never previously seen in Northern Ireland and 500 kilos of high grade nitro based fertilizer used in home-made explosives.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC was told, putting that amount of fertilizer in context, the Omagh bomb of 1998 weighed between 150 and 250 kilos, while the Canary Wharf was 1,000 kilos and those left in Banbridge and Portadown before Omagh, were 150 kilos.

Petticrew has been in custody since the raid on the Fermanagh farm buildings at Kinawley on October 8 2014.

Barry Francis Petticrew

Petticrew was convicted by the Central Criminal Court in Dublin in 2009 of attempting to smuggle a gun and ammunition into Belfast.

His lawyer described him as a vulnerable man, with a low IQ who was trying to protect his father while being preyed upon by more sinister individuals.

Earlier the court heard that Petticrew had been caught on camera moving materials to and from a van at the farm house and outbuildings and when he realised he was being watched made a dash for the border.

When caught 500 yards from the border a breathless Petticrew protested his innocence.

He later repeated that he was "not involved" and despite the evidence of the police surveillance video maintained that position during interview.

Petticrew claimed he only went to the farm to feed the cattle and to fix a shower.

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