Maurice Boyle, 23, of Loughanure, pleaded guilty to the possession of the shotgun at his home on March 1st, 2009.
Garda Paul Gallagher told Letterkenny Circuit Court that Gardai met with Boyle at a checkpoint and they agreed to go to his house.
Gardai searched the house and found a rusted German shotgun behind the panel of a bath.
They also found five spent cartridge shells as well as three unused shells, balaclavas and gloves.
Boyle initially denied the gun was his at all and was interviewed on eleven different occasions.
The court was told that Gardai suspected the gun found in Boyle’s house had been used in a series of robberies across West Donegal.
Two local men Paul McEleney, 19, of Middle Dore, Bunbeg and Tadhg McKelvey, 18, of Loughanure, were previously charged with robbing McDevitt’s Service Station in Dungloe, Gallagher’s Topaz in Derrybeg and Templecrone Cope.
Both men received Community Service Orders.
The court heard how Boyle was dating and had a daughter with McEleney’s sister and felt a certain amount of loyalty to him.
Boyle said he was embarrassed for his family for what he had done and apologised to the court.
He also revealed how he had received a promise of a job in the UK and planned to move there, make some money and invite his partner and their four year old child to join him there.
Judge John O’Hagan said he remembered the case of both McKelvey and McEleney well as he had been criticised by the public when he passed sentence.
However he said he gave them a chance and as far as he knew both men had stayed out of trouble.
And he told Boyle that he was also giving him a chance.
“I propose to give him a chance. I hope that I never see him in any court in future. What you did was foolish, mad, crazy as young people do. I know a lot of people in Donegal were cross with me and sympathetic towards the young girls in the shop. It is my decision. You are not getting away with it. It could restrict your ability to go away,” he said.
He sentenced Boyle to five years in prison but substituted it for 240 hours community service.
At hearing. Copyright donegaldaily.com