Belfast Telegraph

PSNI raid officer leaves gun, ammunition and CS gas in child's bedroom

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

A PSNI officer is facing disciplinary action after a gun and ammunition were left in a house after a raid.

The blunder happened after the planned search of a property in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast yesterday afternoon.

Officers returned to the house 20 minutes later and retrieved the weapon — believed to be a standard issue Glock pistol — which had been abandoned in a child’s bedroom.

Paul Little, who was in the house at the time, said he was shocked by the mistake which could have had tragic consequences. “The mother had just gone to collect the children and I was minding the house because the police were still searching it,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“They finished searching at about 2.30pm and then left. But they came back again about half-an-hour later and said ‘we’ve left something behind, some kit, we’ll have to get it’. So, I said I would have to go with them to get it.

“When we got to one of the children’s bedroom there was the gun, gunbelt, ammo, CS gas and whatever else they carry on their belts. They didn’t say anything to me at all, really.

"To be honest, it was a bit surreal — I don’t know whether they were embarrassed or what. But the children could have come into the house and gone straight up the stairs and found it.”

It is understood the house belongs to Eddie Campbell, an election agent for the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

A PSNI spokeswoman said last night: “Police are treating the temporary loss of this equipment extremely seriously and have commenced an internal disciplinary investigation into the circumstances of the incident.”

The householder has confirmed he intends to make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

Background

Three police firearms were lost or stolen from 2005-2008.

An officer was disciplined after leaving his gun in a supermarket toilet.

Another gun was reported stolen by an officer from his home, but recovered in the house.

The third was lost after an officer said he left it in his locker on retirement.

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