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Police foil dissident bomb plot on Game of Thrones film set

Ex-cops were targeted in dissident republican plan to leave explosive device at Paint Hall Titanic Studios

By Ciaran Barnes

Published 09/03/2015

Game of Thrones is filmed at the Paint Hall Titanic Studios in Belfast
Game of Thrones is filmed at the Paint Hall Titanic Studios in Belfast
Kit Harington as Jon Snow. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon and Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand and Deobia Opaeri as Areo Hotah. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Carice van Houten as Melisandre. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne and Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton, Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton and Elizabeth Webster as Walda Frey. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Conleth Hill as Varys and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Police have foiled a dissident plot to target ex-security force members working on the Game of Thrones TV set in Belfast.

Republican terrorists planned to leave a bomb next to a catering unit at the Paint Hall Titanic Studios where former cops, who were working on the set of the hit HBO show, were gathering for meals.

Sunday Life has seen security documents that reveal the conspiracy was foiled after a tip-off from an informant.

Details were passed by an agent to an ex-police officer, who immediately contacted DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson.

The politician then informed PSNI chiefs who quickly put in a place a sophisticated operation to protect personnel at the site.

Mr Wilson declined to comment when approached by this newspaper, but we can confirm that the threat was so serious PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris was briefed.

The terrorists were tipped off that a number of ex-security force personnel had been working on the site where hit TV show was being filmed at the time. It is understood the bomb plot was disrupted several months ago but kept secret.

When the informant passed on details of the threat, security around the Paint Hall was visibly increased, forcing the dissidents to abandon the attack.

A police source, with knowledge of the Game of Thrones bomb bid, told Sunday Life: “The dissidents initially got word that a number of ex-RUC and army personnel worked at the studios.

“They were even told the exact job in which most of them were employed and the catering unit where they took their lunch and tea at the same time every day.”

Titanic Film Studios
Titanic Film Studios

The insider claimed the dissidents planned to place a bomb made up of fertiliser with a Semtex booster inside a wheeled bin which would be left next to the catering unit.

But a long-standing agent within the republican gang tipped-off his old RUC handler leading to a massive police counter-operation.

“Security around the Paint Hall was visibly increased and because of this the dissidents never went ahead with the plan,” added our source.

The dissident group behind the Game of Thrones threat is not identified in the security force documents seen by this newspaper.

However the papers do make mention of the “threat to life involving ex-members of the police and security forces working at Game of Thrones”. The document also adds: “It cannot be emphasised enough the importance of this information.”

In the wake of the failed bomb bid, all ex-police officers and soldiers who have connections to the Paint Hall were told to increase their personal security.

Thousands of people from across Northern Ireland have been employed at the Paint Hall in all manner of trades, from acting to electronic production, and set building to security.

Game of Thrones — which is currently the world’s biggest TV show — is filmed there along with movies that have included Your Highness starring Oscar winner Natalie Portman.

Detectives believe that among this multitude of workers were a handful of dissident republicans, who told their terror gang’s leadership that a number of former security force personnel were on site.

These same dissidents monitored the movements of the ex-cops and soldiers and noticed how they converged on a regular basis next to a catering unit at meal times.

Checks are also believed to have been made on the identities of their targets using an internet site which listed the name of every person who had ever worked on Game of Thrones.

A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Screen, which manages the Paint Hall Titanic Studios, declined to comment.

Details of the plot come just weeks after an MI5 undercover operation against the Continuity IRA recorded suspects plotting to kill judges, PSNI officers and to carry out strikes on Policing Board meetings.

At one point they are also alleged to have discussed an attack on the Open golf championship.

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