When gardaí went to investigate reports of shots being fired in a Limerick housing estate, they discovered a man had been doing target practice firing a rifle out his bedroom window.
Thomas Hanrahan, aged 25, told the gardaí he had acquired the Chinese-made air rifle through a website and got it to protect himself and his father.
On searching his house at Sean Heuston Place, gardaí also found a can of pepper spray and three containers of lead pellets.
Hanrahan pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to illegal possession of the rifle and pepper spray.
Garda Eoghan Linnane said that while he was on duty on March 9, 2012, with Garda Barry Manton, they were alerted by the communications room at Henry St of shots being fired at Sean Heuston Place.
On arriving at the Hanrahan house, the father of the accused allowed them in and Thomas Hanrahan showed them the rifle, which he took out from behind a fridge.
They found containers of pellets and pepper spray.
Hanrahan took full responsibility for the rifle, the pellets, and the pepper spray.
The accused said he got the rifle to protect himself and his father.
Hanrahan told gardaí he had been doing target practice with the rifle, firing at cans and bottles on a back shed.
The can of pepper spray was capable of discharging a noxious liquid which caused severe irritation and a burning sensation resulting in temporary incapacitation.
Gardaí accepted that the accused did not acquire the rifle for any sinister purpose and while he had a number of previous convictions, these did not involve crimes of violence.
Patrick Whyms, defending, said yesterday that the accused had engaged in target practice in a built-up area.
Mr Whyms said that this was a ridiculous thing for him to do, as people would be alerted to the sound of rifle fire and alert the gardaí.
Mr Whyms said Hanrahan did not have the gun and pepper spray with any nefarious intentions and the accused now realised what he was doing was not acceptable.
Judge Tom O’Donnell put back sentencing for Hanrahan to July 26.
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