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Man, 45, arrested after weapons haul uncovered in police raid

Published 20/09/2015

Arms and explosives were discovered during a raid on a property in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, officers said
Arms and explosives were discovered during a raid on a property in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, officers said

A 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection with major weapons haul in Northern Ireland.

He was detained in Sunderland this morning.

Detective Inspector Adrian Brown from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the arrest operation involved officers from across the UK.

"Officers from PSNI Serious Crime Branch, investigating an arms and explosives find in West Belfast on September 18, assisted by officers from North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police, have arrested a 45-year-old man this morning in Sunderland."

No further details are available at this stage, the PSNI said.

Over half a kilogram of Semtex explosives, two handguns, more than 200 rounds of ammunitions and two detonators were recovered when police raided a property in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast on Friday.

The PSNI said the search was part of an investigation into violent dissident republican activity.

The threat level from dissidents opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland remains severe.

Unionist politicians have described the discovery of Semtex, a plastic explosive used by the Provisional IRA during the 1980s and 1990s, as deeply concerning.

Former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi sent three shipments of Semtex to the PIRA and victims have long been campaigning for compensation from any new Libyan Government.

The Northern Ireland Select Committee at Westminster is also conducting an inquiry into the role of the UK Government in seeking financial redress for those affected by explosives supplied by the Gaddafi regime.

It is believed the quantity of Semtex found in West Belfast would have been sufficient to make three under-car booby trap bombs.

Later, police said two others had been arrested in connection with the discovery of arms and explosives.

Detective Inspector Adrian Brown said the 21-year-old woman and 29-year-old man were detained in West Belfast and had been taken to the PSNI's serious crime suite in Antrim for questioning.

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