We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Men found with guns for UDA are jailed

TWO men who were arrested in Birmingham with guns and ammunition destined for the Ulster Defence Association were jailed at the city's Crown Court yesterday.

Frank Portinari, 36, a school caretaker, of Kentish Town, north London, was sentenced to five years. James McCrudden, 33, from Belfast, was given 30 months.

The court was told that undercover police moved in as Portinari handed seven guns, including revolvers and semi-automatic pistols and about 240 rounds of ammunition, to McCrudden in a pub car park.

Portinari had bought guns and ammunition over a period of 18 months and paid between pounds 350 and pounds 500 for them with money given to him by men he met in Belfast, the court was told. He hid the guns in his office at the school.

On 31 May last year, Portinari met McCrudden, a former member of the UDA, who had been told by the terrorist group to travel from his Belfast home to Birmingham to pick up a bag.

Portinari, admitted possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to enable persons unknown to endanger life. McCrudden admitted having firearms and ammunition in a public place.