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West Belfast Semtex find: Man arrested in Sunderland

Published 20/09/2015

PSNI officers at the scene of the arms find on Ballymurphy Road in west Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott.
PSNI officers at the scene of the arms find on Ballymurphy Road in west Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott.

A man has been arrested in Sunderland in connection with the discovery of Semtex and other weapons in west Belfast.

The 45-year-old was held by officers from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police on Sunday morning.

More than half-a-kilo of Semtex was discovered along with two handguns, 200 rounds of ammunition and two detonators at a house on Ballymurphy Road on Thursday night.

A 67-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman arrested at the scene were released on Saturday evening pending a report to the PPS.

Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Andy McDyer said: “We would like to reassure the local community that there is nothing to suggest that there was, or is, any risk to people in the area."

Detective Inspector Adrian Brown of the PSNI said there were no further details at this stage.

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.

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