A MAN accused of breaching anti-terror laws by flying an Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) flag at homes in the Black Country told police he thought the group had "ceased to exist" after the Good Friday Agreement, a jury has heard.

Kieron Brockhouse, who denies two counts of supporting a proscribed organisation contrary to the 2000 Terrorism Act, said he was "gobsmacked" at being arrested ahead of a police interview in 2022.

Prosecutors allege Brockhouse was reckless as to whether his actions in flying UFF and Ulster Defence Association (UDA) flags and posting images of them on social media would encourage others to support the organisations, which were outlawed in 1973 and 1992 respectively.

The 42-year-old denies two counts of supporting a banned organisation in April 2021 and May 2022 by flying the flags at houses in Banklands Road, Dudley, and Hurst Green Road, Halesowen.

Extracts of police interviews with Brockhouse, conducted at Oldbury custody suite after his arrest, were read to jurors on Thursday by prosecutor Martin Hackett.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court heard Brockhouse told police he was part of an Orange Order lodge, adding: "I like the support we get - it's the history of my country."

Questioned about a UFF flag seized from a flagpole in the back garden of the Halesowen address, Brockhouse told two interviewing officers: "I never thought it was an offence - that's why I am so gobsmacked being in here.

"I am being classed as a terrorist for a flag."

Claiming to have bought the UFF and UDA flags in a "high-street" shop in Belfast during a visit to the city, Brockhouse added: "I am just a patriotic man.

"If they can fly it out there - Britain - how come I have done something wrong?

"My naivety has got me in serious trouble. I have nothing to do with ... no links to terrorism. I don't support terrorism in any way."

Asked by police if he supported the UFF, Brockhouse told officers: "No, I don't support it at all.

"Absolutely not. I have bought them (the flags) from the Shankill Road in Belfast.

"If I can openly buy those in a shop, I can't understand what I have done wrong.

"I thought after 1998 none of them existed."

After being told by one of the police officers that it was illegal to encourage others to support proscribed groups such as the UFF, Brockhouse responded: "Like I said, I didn't think the organisation existed any more.

"I have been sat in my cell reading (a book) about the Battle of Britain but it don't mean I'm going to try to buy a Spitfire does it?"

The trial continues.