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Police find dissident weapons cache that was primed for use

By Michael McHugh

Published 06/08/2016

Some of the arms discovered in Lurgan
Some of the arms discovered in Lurgan
Some of the arms discovered in Lurgan
Det Supt Karen Baxter

Police have uncovered what is believed to be a significant dissident republican arms hide in Co Armagh.

A bomb is still being dealt with in Lurgan and three firearms were also recovered.

The weapons cache was found in a wooded area and follows a number of recent similar seizures.

Police seized:

  • constituent parts of homemade explosives;
  • improvised mortars, launchers and a number of pipe bombs;
  • three firearms, a variety of ammunition and a Taser stun gun;
  •  a range of devices to initiate explosives.

PSNI Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter said: "We consider this to be a significant and successful find.

"It has made communities safer and it has undoubtedly saved lives."

Some of the items were ready for use and others were in an advanced state of preparedness.

Det Supt Baxter said detectives believed one of the finds was a "fully constructed explosive device".

Members of the security forces are under severe threat from dissident republicans opposed to the peace process who have killed police and prison officers, as well as soldiers about to deploy to Afghanistan. Prison officer Adrian Ismay who trained new recruits died earlier this year following the explosion of an under-car booby-trapped bomb.

Police searched the area on the outskirts of Lurgan for two days, causing major disruption.

The weapons were close to a derelict house near the railway line between Belfast and Portadown in Co Armagh. Det Supt Baxter said: "It has all the hallmarks of violent dissident republican activity. It is sad in some respects that people are so intent on killing other individuals in Northern Ireland.

"However, I am pleased with the success we have had here today. We have worked extremely hard."

She added: "We have a number of ongoing investigations against dissident republican activity across Northern Ireland and this has been a really successful day for policing."

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said: "This is fantastic work by the PSNI in the Lurgan area.

"The find of a substantial amount of arms and munitions is a major success and a significant blow against republican terrorism.

"Some of these devices were in the advanced stages of construction.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, their removal has saved individuals from death or serious injury."

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly added: "It's a great result for the PSNI to find these firearms/munitions and take them away from those who would have used them to cause harm in our community.

"Our thanks go to the police and the army technical officers who have been involved in the recovery of these items."

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