Belfast Telegraph

Lurgan arrests: Four charged after Semtex device found 'ready for deployment'

  • Man charged with attempting to murder police officers
  • Three charged with preparation of terrorist acts

Police have charged four men arrested in Lurgan as part of an investigation into dissident republican activity.

The PSNI said they recovered a fully prepared Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) which was ready for deployment.

An EFP is an improvised explosive device designed to penetrate armour plating when fired at relatively close range from a makeshift launcher. The potentially lethal device was made safe.

A 22-year-old man has been charged with the attempted murder of police officers and possession of explosives with intent to endanger life on 31 August in Lurgan.

Three men, aged 22, 24 and 46, have been charged with preparation of terrorist acts, namely the targeting of a former member of the security forces in the Craigavon area.

All four will appear at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, head of Crime Operations Department, said: "We are relieved and delighted to have taken an extremely dangerous explosive device out of circulation. Our experience of these devices in Northern Ireland has been that they have been used to try to kill police officers. Our action has probably saved lives and definitely made the community safer.

"We are issuing a photo of part of the device which had been deconstructed by police and shows the makeshift casing, a detonator, Semtex and copper piping.

"This investigation has been running for some time, led by detectives from Crime Operations who have worked closely with colleagues in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District and received invaluable support from colleagues in Operational Support Department.

"The device was located in a derelict house in a residential area close to people’s homes. Those responsible have absolutely no regard for the local community, or indeed any community.

"I would ask all those with any influence in the community to use that influence to persuade people not to get involved in this type of activity. People who get involved, particularly young people, face the prospect of significant, possibly life changing, consequences.

"I would also like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the disruption of search activity in recent days. Our primary aim has been community safety. We are committed to doing this by working with the community and acting on information provided to us so that together we can keep people safe."

A 22-year-old man arrested last Thursday as part of the same investigation was released unconditionally at the weekend.

DUP MP David Simpson said: "I congratulate the Police on this significant find. Tonight we can be thankful that this device has been taken off our streets and not used for its intended purpose - to kill.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart added: "This represents a real blow to dissident republicans which I welcome and commend the police for their action.

"The mortar had the potential to seriously damage and destroy. The individuals who carry out this activity have no regard for life. The devastating consequences, had this device been used do not bear thinking about and I condemn those who think it is appropriate to carry out this type of activity in our community.

"I would urge anyone with any details to contact the PSNI."

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