Hike sentence

Two-year sentence for Ballyclare man who pleaded guilty to possession of terrorism-related items

A CO Antrim man has been sentenced to two years in prison for possession of terrorism-related items and possession of prohibited weapons.

William ‘Billy’ Simm (30), of Grahamstown Walk, Ballyclare, had pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to possession of items for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

He further admitted possessing a taser and two stun guns in breach of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004.

Police discovered swords, machetes and brass knuckles in a house used as a weapons warehouse for the Ulster Defense Association.

Photo published by PSNI

A suspected BB gun and “UDA branded clothing” was also found at Simms’ home in Erskine Park, Ballyclare.

Searches were carried out on 16 February 2021 on Erskine Park property as part of an operation by the PSNI Paramilitary Crime Task Force targeting UDA-related crime in South East Antrim.

Simms had paraphernalia associated with the banned grouping, including tasers, batons, military-style clothing, gloves and balaclavas.

During police questioning, the accused denied being in possession of the items and said he only took a rental on the property on December 19, 2020.

After handing down the two-year sentence to Simms, who appeared in court in person, Judge Donna McColgan KC told prison staff to take him into custody.

Following the hearing, the Paramilitary Crime Task Force welcomed Simms’ two-year sentence.

Photo published by PSNI

Detective Inspector Corrigan said: “William Simms was arrested under the Terrorism Act in February last year.

“This follows a search of a property in which we discovered a quantity of paraphernalia associated with the UDA.

“Weapons, including several swords, tasers, batons and brass knuckles were also recovered.

“Paramilitary organizations control communities through a regime of fear and violence, and have no place in today’s society.

“This case demonstrates our continued commitment, and that of our partners, to disrupting organized criminal activity so that local people can lead peaceful lives.”