Belfast Telegraph

Forty five weapons recovered at Belfast International Airport

Bulgaria flights targeted as weapons openly on sale in popular holiday resorts

The Organised Crime Task Force has published its annual report for 2016/17 (DoJ/PA)
The Organised Crime Task Force has published its annual report for 2016/17 (DoJ/PA)

Forty five offensive weapons and two imitation firearms were recovered from passengers at Belfast International Airport last year.

Flights from Bulgaria have seen the largest seizures as weapons are openly for sale in the markets and shops of the popular tourist resorts, an Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) report said.

Prosecutions have been taken by the National Crime Agency for a number of cases.

Twenty three organised crime gangs were dismantled in Northern Ireland last year.

The number of groups whose activities were frustrated, disrupted or dismantled has increased slightly on the previous year, according to the Taskforce’s annual report for 2016/17.

More than £1.7 million worth of criminal assets were recovered, much of it returned to law enforcement agencies.

Justice Department permanent secretary Nick Perry said: “OCTF is continuing to provide a strategic forum that brings together Government and law enforcement to work in partnership to combat organised crime.

“However, as the threat we face shifts and adapts, so we must develop, build and enhance our strengths and learn new ways of working together if we are to keep pace with, and indeed get ahead of, the emerging threats that face us.”

The OCTF brings together agencies like the PSNI, borders and customs officers.

It has also confiscated a number of tasers, and batons from criminals.

The Taskforce’s annual report recorded more than 5,500 drugs swoops and the rescue of 34 victims and potential victims of modern slavery.

Press Association

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