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Mark Harbinson gun same 'rare' type as used to kill IRA leader

 Mark Harbinson who has been charged with possession of a Makarov gun

THE GUN allegedly found in the possession of loyalist Mark Harbinson is the same type of "extremely rare" eastern European handgun as used to kill IRA leader Jock Davison.

Harbinson (48), from Sheepwalk Road in Lisburn, has been remanded in custody charged with having the gun, bullets and a silencer.

He appeared in court after police pursued him through Dublin and Cumbria after discovering the disassembled Makarov 9mm semi-automatic pistol, 28 rounds of suitable ammunition and a silencer in a Family Circle tin of biscuits in an out building at his home on December 21.

A police officer told the court that when questioned, Harbinson said he could not explain why his fingerprint was inside the biscuit tin as "he didn't like those kind of biscuits anyway".

His defence solicitor said although leaving Northern Ireland had been "stupidity in the highest form", it was simply because he had "gone into a blind panic" because he was coming to the end of his license period after being convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 16 years old.

Former IRA leader Gerard 'Jock' Davison was shot dead in the Markets area of Belfast in May last year with a Makarov pistol.

A senior police officer later told the BBC Crimewatch programme that the gun and ammunition were "extremely rare in Northern Ireland."

"The weapon and bullets used were an eastern European type called Makarov," Det Supt Kevin Geddes told Crimewatch.

"These 9mm bullets are unusual in as much as they will not work in most types of western handgun.

"They are a slightly different size and can only be fired using a Makarov type gun.

"This type of weapon and ammunition are extremely rare in Northern Ireland."

Police said they did not believe dissident republicans or loyalists were responsible for the killing.

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