Bar manager accused of senior role in major cocaine plot linked to South East Antrim UDA

A bar manager accused of playing a senior role in a major cocaine plot linked to the South East Antrim UDA has been granted bail at the High Court.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 1:52 pm
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 2:26 pm
Laganside court complex in Belfast city centre.

Glenn Burns secured release from custody after a judge was told it will take six months to complete a voice analysis of secretly recorded conversations.

The 38-year-old, of Moyard Gardens in Carrickfergus, is among four men charged with conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. They were arrested as part of a probe into the seizure of 1.2 kilos of cocaine in Greenisland last November.

The joint PSNI and National Crime Agency (NCA) initiative centred on the South East Antrim UDA, previous courts were told. Heat sealed packages containing drugs were discovered in two cars and a specially constructed hide in hedges in an area regarded as the grouping’s heartland.

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According to the prosecution the four accused were all in another vehicle subjected to covert audio surveillance.

It was claimed that Burns is a senior figure in an organised crime gang directing, buying and selling cocaine on a commercial scale.

More than 40 devices recovered by police during the operation are to undergo forensic examination, with a private company employed in a bid to speed the process up.

An audio recognition expert has also been brought in to analyse the recordings and suspected code words used.

With Burns denying the charge against him, his legal team stressed he is not accused of UDA membership.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey mounted a fresh bid for bail based on the anticipated delay in the case against his client reaching trial.

In court today Crown lawyer Robin Steer did not oppose the renewed application.

“The prosecution accepts that the voice analysis evidence is estimated to take six months,” Mr Steer said.

On that basis Mr Justice Rooney decided: “Bail should be granted in light of the delay.”

He ordered Burns to live under curfew at an approved address and banned him from entering Greenisland or Carrickfergus.

The accused is also prohibited from leaving Northern Ireland and must provide his mobile phone details to the PSNI and NCA