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Police arrest three men following seizure of firearm and ammunition in west Belfast

It is understood the men were attempting a robbery when stopped by police officers

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A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre in west Belfast on Saturday.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre in west Belfast on Saturday.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre in west Belfast on Saturday.

Three men have been arrested in west Belfast following the discovery of a firearm and ammunition, as police investigate criminality linked to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

The males were arrested in the Northumberland Street area on Saturday by detectives from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force. It is understood they were attempting a robbery when they were stopped by police.

Images from the incident show one male being restrained on the ground, while one officer - dressed in civilian clothing - points a rifle at him.

A spokesperson for the PSNI explained that at around 9am, as part of a proactive policing operation into criminality linked to the INLA, a car was stopped in the west Belfast area - resulting in the recovery of the firearm and ammunition.

Two men aged 23 and 27 were arrested at the scene on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery, encouraging or assisting an offence, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre, Northumberland Street off the Falls Road, Belfast.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre, Northumberland Street off the Falls Road, Belfast.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre, Northumberland Street off the Falls Road, Belfast.

A short time later, a 30-year-old male was subsequently arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and encouraging or assisting an offence.

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All three are currently in police custody at this time.

Following the arrests, Detective Inspector Hamilton said: “I am pleased to report the seizure of this firearm and ammunition to the people of west Belfast and indeed the wider community.

“We have removed the ability of these criminals, hiding behind the guise of paramilitarism, to terrorise members of the community and our city is undoubtedly a safer place today as a result.

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A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre.

A man is arrested by armed security forces outside Greggs at the Twin Spires Centre.

“Today’s search provides further evidence to the community that we care about what is important to them, we will listen to what they tell us and we act on the information they provide us.

“I would therefore encourage members of the community who may have information that could assist our efforts to tackle criminality linked to paramilitaries, to please get in touch.

“Those who involve themselves in this kind of crime should be under no illusion as to our commitment and determination to identify, pursue and arrest anyone suspected of involvement in criminality and see them convicted for their crimes.”

Police also appealed to members of the public to come forward with any information about criminality in their area.

Anyone with information can call police on 101. Alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 2800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph


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