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Police step up the hunt for bombers of policeman’s car

Detectives last night revisited the scene one week on from a bomb attack on the car of Constable Peadar Heffron.

Officers from the PSNI’s serious crime branch spent hours talking to motorists and residents on the Milltown Road near Randalstown last night.

Constable Heffron remains in a critical but stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital after an undercar booby-trap device exploded as he drove to work at Woodbourne Police Station in west Belfast at about 6.30am last Friday.

This week it was confirmed Constable Heffron, who is a fluent Irish speaker, captain of the PSNI’s Gaelic football team and related to a senior member of Sinn Fein, had to have his right leg amputated.

Police have declined to say which dissident organisation they believe was responsible but the terror attack is believed to have been carried out by republican splinter group Oglaigh na hÉireann, which was behind a similar attack on the girlfriend of an officer in east Belfast last year.

Security experts have said the undercar booby-trap device, widely used by the Provisional IRA, was now the weapon of choice for dissidents.

Last night it emerged that police officers and civilian staff working for the PSNI are to be issued with special mirrors to check under their vehicles for booby- trap bombs.

Some electronic detectors may also be available, but senior officers say the most reliable safeguard is for staff to physically check under their vehicles.

Last night senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Glenn Wright, called for members of the community to come forward with information.

“Peadar remains in a critical condition. His family are at his bedside 24 hours a day. My thoughts and the thoughts of the wider police family are with them.

“We have returned in an effort to speak to members of the local community and ask them if they saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of Milltown Road, Randalstown, between the hours of 6.30pm on Thursday January 7 and 6.30am the following morning, Friday January 8,” said the detective.

“The people responsible for this bomb are cowards. They have no place in our society whatsoever.

“To target Constable Heffron, who is an experienced PSNI officer, well respected by his community, was a barbaric and sickening act. They used the darkness and poor weather to conceal their movements, to place a bomb intended to kill a police officer.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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