Brian Calvan, Dominic Dynes, Brian Sheridan plead guilty to gun charges
Three men who were caught with guns in a car had dug them up in Northern Ireland and were taking them to the Irish Republic to re-bury them in a safer place, a court has been told.
Brian Calvan, Dominic Dynes and Brian Sheridan pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to having a loaded revolver with intent to endanger life.
They also pleaded guilty to having rifles in suspicious circumstances.
The three were arrested by police who stopped their car in April 2011.
The revolver was found in the front of the car when it was stopped near Keady, County Armagh, while the rest of the weapons were discovered wrapped up in the boot.
A prosecution lawyer said that the weapons were not antiques and were intended for use and posed a risk to the public.
He said the discovery of the guns had to be seen in the context of the ongoing terrorist campaign.
Defence lawyers said the three men had dug up the weapons and were moving them from north to south to re-bury them and they said the presence of a spade in the car gave credence to their claims as did the defendants' muddy boots.
Cavlan 37, from Circular Road, Dungannon; Dynes,41, from Bree in Castleblayney,and Sheridan, 36 from Avanmore, Blackwatertown told police they were not planning to use the weapons.
One defence lawyer said their intent was to avoid endangering lives by re-burying the weapons in a safer location.
He added: "If they hadn't been intercepted by police they would never have seen the light of day again"
Defence counsel said the men hadn't been charged with membership of illegal organisations and hadn't attempted to resist arrest.
The three men will be sentenced at a later date.