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Discovery of Lurgan weapons haul 'has saved lives'

By Rebecca Black

Published 08/08/2016

Some of the arms discovered in Lurgan
Some of the arms discovered in Lurgan

Three bombs and a quantity of weapons were found following a three-day search of the grounds of a former convent in Lurgan.

Home-made explosives, mortars, launchers, pipe bombs, guns, a stun gun and a timing device were among the haul.

The police officer leading the search operation described the items as being "in the advanced stages of readiness".

Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter said lives had been saved thanks to the discovery of the cache.

The PSNI commenced the operation at Cornakinnegar Road on Thursday.

On Friday it announced it had found a bomb as well as firearms, and on Saturday it revealed it had found a further two bombs.

Builders made the initial discovery of the haul, which the PSNI and Army bomb experts then examined and removed. The weapons are believed to belong to the Continuity IRA.

Det Supt Baxter said the items had been removed for forensic examination.

"We understand that this operation has had an impact on the community, however the removal of these items from the streets and from the hands of dangerous individuals has undoubtedly saved lives and made this community safer," she said.

"Operations like this one demonstrate that we in the PSNI take our responsibility to keep people safe seriously."

She added: "I would ask the public to support our efforts by providing information and reporting any suspicious activity."

UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson praised police, saying: "I welcome the meticulous work being undertaken to remove these instruments of death and destruction from the hands of those who would use them to brutally further their own outdated political agenda.

"The advanced stage of preparedness of many of the arms uncovered will be deeply worrying for many."

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