A WEALTHY Irish businessman who was caught trying to board a plane with live ammunition hidden in his luggage has been jailed for six years.
Construction boss Michael McMahon was passing through security at a Liverpool airport en route to Dublin when 13 rounds and two spent bullets were discovered in a bag stashed in a trainer in his hand luggage.
The 64-year-old was arrested under terrorism laws before police were ordered to search his seven-bedroom farmhouse in Merseyside.
Two illegal guns and more bullets were discovered at the property.
One of the weapons, a Glock 9mm pistol, was hidden in a ceiling beam above his bed with one bullet in the chamber.
The second, an American Raven Arms self-loading pistol, was recovered from a boot in the kitchen, it was loaded with two bullets.
Mr McMahon, of School Lane, Rainhill, in Merseyside, told police he purchased the first weapon three or four years ago to improve the security at his home following a series of violent and traumatic robberies of properties in his affluent area.
In court he admitted to buying it 10 years ago after his brother was abducted. The grandad-of-nine said the second gun was given to him by an aunt many years ago and he considered it to be an antique.
Mr McMahon added that he kept it in a cabinet and had never fired it. Terrorism police were called to investigate his hand-luggage on August 22 this year, after an x-ray of his hand luggage caused security staff at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport to become suspicious.
McMahon was detained and asked if he packed the bag himself. He replied that he had and that it contained nothing that should not be there.
The Irishman said he was “shocked” when the bullets were found and could not explain how they got there.
McMahon pleaded guilty to seven offences at Liverpool Crown Court last month. They included possession of a dangerous item in an airport, possession of ammunition without a license and two charges of possession of a prohibited firearm.
He was sentenced to five years for possessing the weapons, to run concurrently with a 12-month sentence for the ammunition found at his house.
A further 12 months will follow that sentence for having ammunition at an airport. Detective Chief Inspector Will Chatterton, of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said the grandad-of-nine had “never satisfactorily explained why he had these weapons and ammo in his possession and what they were intended for”.
“Today McMahon begins a significant jail term in the full knowledge that the UK police and security service will do everything in their power to prevent illegal guns and ammo crossing our borders,” he added.