Car owned by top loyalist reached speeds of up to 100mph near Moira, court hears

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A prominent loyalist has been refused bail after a court heard items linked to a proscribed terrorist group was found on his property.

Mark Harbinson, of Sheepwalk Road, Lisburn, is charged with possessing a gun, a silencer and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Belfast High Court was told an Orange Volunteers banner was also found at a barn at his home in a police search.

But a defence lawyer said Mr Harbinson, 48, was not a member of the group.

He added that that the banner was previously displayed during an parading dispute between Orangemen and nationalists at Drumcree in Portadown and he kept it because ‘he liked it’.

Mr Harbinson told police that he had nothing to do with the Orange Volunteers and added ‘my campaign is over’.

The prosecution revealed that police discovered ‘a shebeen’, an unlicensed bar, when they searched Mr Harbinson’s property two weeks ago. Three black balaclavas were also found.

The court heard that Mr Harbinson had a bar and held parties for friends in the summer and at Halloween.

He said Mr Harbinson believes the balaclavas were left behind by friends, including loyalists, who attended a Halloween fancy dress party.

It was also revealed at Thursday’s bail hearing that after the police search in December officers chased a car owned by Mr Harbinson.

The vehicle reached speeds of up to 100mph on country roads between Lisburn and Moira in County Down.

Mr Harbinson claimed he had loaned the car to someone, but was unable to tell the police who the person was.

A judge refused to grant bail for Mr Harbinson.