'Significant' terrorist materials uncovered in Larne searches following Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell arrest
Police have uncovered a "significant" amount of terrorist materials during searches in Larne.
Officers descended on the Co Antrim town on August 24 and have carried out 12 searches in the past 13 days.
It followed the arrest of Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell in England. He has since appeared in court on terrorism-related charges.
The arrest and searches are related to terrorist hide finds in Carnfunnock Country Park and Capanagh Forest in Larne. Police believe the material is linked to dissident republicans.
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, head of PSNI’s Crime Operations Department said: “Since August 24 an extensive search operation has taken place in the Larne area.
“Police have searched 12 separate locations and recovered a significant amount of terrorist material including explosive devices, component parts for explosives, chemicals for use in bomb making, ammunition and a firearm.
“These searches were part of a joint, ongoing, police operation between PSNI and the Metropolitan Police Service in London.”
ACC Kerr added: "I would like to thank the community of Larne for their patience while these searches were ongoing.
"I am aware of the disruption this has caused to local residents and am extremely grateful for their co-operation and understanding.
"However, as I am sure the people living in Larne will understand, we will take no chances where their safety is concerned and, as a result of the significant terrorist material recovered, I am confident that the area, and Northern Ireland in general, is safer as a result.”
DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said: "I want to congratulate the PSNI once again for all their work in uncovering what they deem to be a ‘significant’ amount of terrorist materials in Larne.
"In the 12 searches that took place, the PSNI have managed to uncover materials which would have caused a catastrophic loss of life.
"The actions of dissident republicans in Larne is disgraceful, however today’s news has once again proved that the PSNI are determined and committed to halting this type of activity.
"Over the course of these searches there has been considerable disruption to the local community and I want to thank them for their patience while searches were carried out."
East Antrim MLA and Junior Minister Alastair Ross said: "The longer this police operation goes on the more disturbing it becomes. It is clear that there has been a significant stock pile of high grade weaponry and other materials that would be of use to terrorists stashed at various locations in and around Larne.