Belfast Telegraph

Device found near Lurgan play park was 'intended to harm police officers'

By Jonathan Bell

A bomb made safe in Co Armagh was "capable of substantial harm", police have said.

The device and a firearm were found following searches in the Tarry Drive area of Lurgan yesterday.

Superintendent David Moore said: "During these searches a number of areas had to be cordoned and some evacuations were necessary which affected local residents, including children attending a nearby play park.

"We are hugely grateful for the patience, understanding and support shown to us by the local community, with whom we are proud to work in rooting out the scourge of terrorism."

Police said the device was examined by the bomb squad before it was made safe and taken away for forensic examination along with the firearm.

"There is no doubt that this device was intended to harm police officers," said superintendent Moore.

"However, its placement and the manner in which it was left undoubtedly mean that had it detonated, it would almost certainly have caused death or serious injury.

"Working together with the community, this act of potentially lethal recklessness has been brought to an end."

He said people living in this area were placed at great risk.

"Had this device not been found when it had, there is no telling what we may have been dealing with.

"Children would have been walking right past this location and people residing peacefully in this area were put in danger.

"The misguided individuals behind this device are seriously out of step with this community and clearly don't care about the lives of those living in the area and the disruption they have brought to their doorsteps.

"Placing this device where they did says much about the contempt and disregard in which they hold this community."

The officer added: "As a police service we will not be deterred by such acts nor by the small number of individuals behind them. We will keep doing our job, keeping people safe and tackling the things people in Lurgan are demanding we tackle - burglary, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.

"An investigation, led by detectives from PSNI's serious crime branch is underway and I would ask anyone who may have information that could assist the police investigation to please get in touch with us."

"We would like to thank the community and its real leadership for their patience and their response in helping to care for the most vulnerable during this incident. They are owed more than an apology and explanation by those who recklessly left this device in the heart of this community," he said.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said: "I would congratulate and commend the police for their continued efforts in keeping the community safe within Lurgan.

"Over recent weeks their policing operations have resulted in the arrests of those parading with their faces masked and the removal of weaponry designed to kill."

Sinn Fein councillor Keith Haughian said: "The placing of such a potentially lethal device in close proximity to the nearby play park which is so extensively used by children and families in the area is madness."

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