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'Deadly cache reminiscent of UK's inner city underworlds'

A detective has warned that the arsenal of weapons uncovered could have caused multiple injuries or deaths.

Detective Inspector Tom McClure said: "These items which we recovered at Hawkin Street are worrying. They show a potential to cause serious injury or death, over and above the obvious harm posed by drugs. Thankfully, we have removed them before they can cause any damage. But there are worrying similarities to the violent paraphernalia associated with drug gangs in large inner cities in Britain and Ireland where drugs are peddled for profit, but cause nothing but destruction and where violence or the threat of violence are used to enforce these activities.

"We have taken this small arsenal which included a sub-machine-gun, two handguns and two high explosive military specification hand grenades off the streets.

"We will continue to pursue any individual involved in organised criminality and drugs and put them before the courts.

"The criminal justice system is the only effective way of dealing with this community problem.

"Detectives in Organised Crime Branch will follow all investigative leads to frustrate, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups involved in drugs with the objective of keeping people safe and putting suspects before the courts.

"We would continue to ask individuals and groups to work with us to minimise the threat and make our communities safer."

Belfast Telegraph