Northern Ireland

Men in court over £1.3m Dromore drugs haul

The herbal cannabis that was found by police Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Police found £1.3m of herbal cannabis in a fuel container

Two men arrested after the seizure of one of Northern Ireland's biggest hauls of herbal cannabis are believed to be part of a crime gang operating across Europe, a court has heard.

Niall Mallon, 37, and Kevin McPolin, 32 were charged with importing class B drugs, possession and possession with intent to supply.

They were arrested on Friday.

Police found £1.3m of herbal cannabis in a fuel container at Mr Mallon's home at Ballynaris Lane in Dromore

The court was told that during police interviews Mr Mallon refused to account for his actions.

However, speaking about the container, he said: "I was meant to pick it up yesterday in Dublin but couldn't find the place."

The court heard that Mr McPolin, of Edenderry Park in Banbridge, told police he went to Dublin with Mr Mallon on Friday to pick up a package but he did not know what was in it or where the package was due to go.

'Intelligence led police to address'

He also told police that £1,500 found in his house was from the sale of a car, but he could not say who he had sold the car to.

A lawyer for the prosecution said police believed the only way the pair would be able to recoup the significant financial loss from the seizure would be through further criminal activity.

It was also revealed that police are searching for a third man who they said has fled the jurisdiction.

The judge said the pair are accused of "serious offences" and it was "obvious that some intelligence had led police to the defendant's address".

He added that because of the amount of drugs and the cross-border element that he was concerned that bail would be breached.

As the pair were remanded in custody to appear again later this month, a woman in the public gallery said "love you" and broke down.